India Anti-Poverty Scheme – Response to Seth

Great post, Seth. Sustainable infrastructure-building is much more sound policy than promising jobs for an arbitrary 100 days out of the year in a country as corrupt as India. Improving the economy, industry, and agriculture are the keys to India’s future. Santosh’s endorsement of groups like ProGreen is right-on. Social entrepreneurship yields measurable results and has minimal danger of corrupt government involvement; it will help Indian villages thrive.

Corruption is a huge concern, as mentioned by everyone. When I was in Bangalore last December, I was struck by the horrible roads running right in front of corporate technology parks. The gates separated the plush private campuses from the mismanaged public throughways. I can only imagine – like Open Window – how politicians could easily game the system and siphon off money from the Scheme.

Santosh’s articulation of using the 100 days of work to build infrastructure that would become self-sustaining in terms of employment and revenue generation seems to be the admirable objective outlined by the government as well. To answer Open Window, yes, it is the government’s responsibility in some cases to provide jobs for the people – public works projects were key to America’s resurgence after the Depression.

It is definitely a good idea to have community workers helping people understand their rights – here in America, the UFW is a great example of success with outreach and advocacy among rural farm workers. Indian NGOs (or MBAs???) should take it upon themselves to create a similar model. (I was surprised at the sarcastic comments on Santosh’s suggestion on Indian MBAs stepping out of the malls and into the villages!)
I am particularly interested in how a “family member” will be selected – especially in order to ensure that women have equal opportunity. Although politicians promise that women will be considered as special beneficiaries of the Scheme, is that realistic? All the commentators so far have been men – how about it, ladies?

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3 Responses to “India Anti-Poverty Scheme – Response to Seth”

  1. Prashant Says:

    Hi,

    I still disagree that it is the responsibility of the govt to guarantee jobs to its citizen. Govt responsibility is to create opportunity so that all the citizens can land up in job and contribute towards development of society.

    Like making infrastructure and employing people in that process is different from promising jobs to people andthen think of what to make them do.
    Yes I do agree with you that MBAs and NGOs should head towards villages. It is the bright minds, which are needed to bring a sea change in not only the living standard but also the attitude of the socially backward classes. If Govt makes some policies of employing these brains in rural sector too, instead of guaranteeing the jobs to poors, they can create much more opportunities that govt can even think of.

    There is a lot to say about all these, but more than that there is to be done,

    Prashant
    (The Open Window)

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