Social Watch India: Prevailing notion of development fails to provide justice

Photo: Social Watch India

“The notion of evaluating social development on the basis of economical growth should change, as the studies from different aspects reveal the growing disparities in the societies across the globe,” said Dr.Yogesh Kumar, Executive Director of Samarthan and National Convener of Social Watch India. Kumar was talking in Bangalore at the launching of the Social Watch Report 2012.

“The myth that economical growth is a synonym of social development has penetrated among the masses after neoliberal policies were adopted by the [Indian] government”, but that “notion of development has failed to provide justice” he added.

With the objective of promoting accountability among governments and to ensure the compliance of the international commitments on social policies and developmental goals, Social Watch India has been bringing out a comprehensive study since 1995.

“Justice is not done to the people, as Basic Capability Index is up by a mere seven points during the period of 1990-2010, whereas economical growth is very much faster. Standard Inequality Index from the period of 1980-2010 of developed countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) like USA and UK, have gone up considerably, according to Gini Coefficient Studies,” said Kumar.

“Governance of global economy needs to be consistent with Human Rights’ as well. G-7 and G-20 countries should behave responsibly and should allow poor countries to use their resources in order to secure the ‘Right to Future’,” he added.

Emphasizing on implementation of commitments made in Rio Summit and UN Summit 2012, Yogesh also stressed  for the change in conditionality of international trade and for no more fresh commitments unless existing are fulfilled.

“On one side, rights are being given, on the other, the resources are less allocated. We must question the framework of the development process. Presently, one pattern of development is against another pattern of development.  Whether merger is possible? Can one exterminate the other?,” he asked.|           

Agreeing to a question about the availability of statistics and reality check on the statistics, Yogesh Kumar agreed that indeed this is a challenge. He Kumar emphasized that as democratic spaces are shrinking, it is important that the Social Watch brings out reports to public, blending the writing with field reality.  He also mentioned that it is very important to connect with citizen groups, build constituencies (like engaging with legislators), and take the Social Watch agenda down to the village, taluq and district levels.

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