New Economic Policy and Its Impact on Marginal Segments in India

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:45 AM
Room: 419
Distributed Paper
Samarth DAHIWALE , Sociology, Retd. University of Pune, Pune, India

The essay deals with the impact of New Economic Policy (NEP) on poverty, employment, farmers' suicide, displacement of peasants and adivasis (aborigines), slum dwellers, etc. Wage employment schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) of the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has helped alleviating poverty in rural India. In the reform era, the overall employment rate in organised sector has come down, but it has increased in private sector with uncertainty of both income and job security.

        The UPA government described its economic growth "inclusive." The government saw inclusion in terms of social inclusion and financial inclusion. In social inclusion, the government devised: poverty alleviation, employment generation, health, education and social welfare, and in financial inclusion, subsidies, loans and social security benefits to be directly credited to the accounts of the beneficiaries. Since there are reports of corruption in the implementation of welfare schemes and social services such as education and health have become privatised/commercialised, marginal sections, viz., Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Muslims remained excluded from the benefits. Inclusive growth, therefore, is questioned. And, thus NEP has become a stumbling block to supporting the development of social sector in general.

       Interestingly, the governments, viz., Left Front in West Bengal, Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in Jharkhand and the like, known for the cause of the disprivileged, failed to address the issues of survival and governance. The author, therefore, calls for the initiative of civil society/ the role of intellectuals in taking up the programme of conscientisation, i.e., an approach of perceiving contradictions and taking action against the oppressive elements/forces in society.