Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Land reforms can end poverty cycle

Only the scientific land reforms can bring the people out of the vicious poverty trap, said finance minister Surendra Pandey launching a 'Poverty and vulnerability cycles in South Asia: Narratives of survival and struggles," here today in the Valley.
The report -- launched by South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) -- blames destruction of natural resourcs and food deficiency, climate change, displacement due to development, immigration, and labour for the poverty in the region.
The ownership of the land should remain with the government unlike the present personal ownership status, he said, adding that the government then could lease the land for commercial purposes to increase the productivity. "Our ideology of 'land for the tillers' has been proved wrong," he admitted.
Though the report blames all the social evils to the neo-liberal policies, Pandey requested to look at the things in different perspective.
"The South Asian countries' economies are structurally adjusted by neo-liberal orthodoxy, directing towards a closer integration with the world markets and economy, the report said, adding that one sees increased operations of global capital within these countries with minimum or no restrictions and free flow of finance capital with the intervention of World Bank, IMF and WTO.
"Neo-liberalism results in a skewed division of labour. This changes the economic structure of the countries, with manufacturing being capital-intensive, transnationalised, fragmented and dispersed across the globe, according to the report. "Neo-liberalism has deprived people of their basic right to food, education, jobs; aggravated hunger and death on account of starvation and plundered the earth of all its natural resources. The policies pursued by the rulers of South Asian countries have created conditions of exclusion, marginalisation, and denial of rights, justice and democratic freedom to the majority of the people."
The report follows the earlier reports in building up a detailed case for the need for intensified social action to address and solve shockingly dismal conditions in which people are being forced to live. "Despite the fact that it is well known that the number of people afflicted by poverty and human deprivation is overwhelmingly large in South Asia -- a region already marked by high internal migration, military conflicts and the attendant loss of life, and critical issues of livelihood and human rights -- there has been a global silence on the extent of the oppression," the report said.
Out of the total of 1.3 billion absolute poor people in the world, South Asia is home to 433 million. There are more people living in poverty in South Asia than the combined population living in poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States, East Asia and the Pacific -- excluding China -- and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The report captures both, the similarities and the differences, among the people of South Asia. It illustrates how they differ from one another - both within countries and across the region - and explores the possibilities of bringing them together in a South Asian alliance that can provide an alternative; challenges the traditional approach to poverty alleviation and seeks a new paradigm that will transform the structures of poverty and vulnerability. It presents examples of people from the grass root communities who try to improve upon their vulnerable conditions by using their own innovative ideas and resources as the report is more of the people's feelings.
In 2003 and in 2006 also, the SAAPE had published the comprehensive reports which reflected the acute nature of poverty, deprivation and destitution in South Asia.

Unionism deviates
KATHMANDU: Unions are doing more harm than good as they have deviated from their mission. "Unions are doing syndicate," the finance minister Surendra Pandey, said, adding that they are lobbying for their 'vested' interests and gains. He reminded the labour leaders of their mission as the union and requested not to deviate from the mission of unions.


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