Editorial | The idea of social development

If the social development is the focus, then the institutions that are specifically meant for this purpose, need to be upgraded, and their functioning monitored so as to match the targets set. We have been hearing the top functionaries in the government that the benefits of the development schemes and all the welfare plans must reach the target group. If we take it at the face value we can only appreciate such statements and welcome the initiatives taken in this regard. But the question that hovers is: do the plans drawn and the statements made make any significant difference in the lives of the target population. The condition of the people living  on the margins of the society is not improving the way these welfare and development programs would envisage. If that is the case then the whole idea, and the methods of application, need a serious review.  There was a time when the social welfare schemes were seen in the larger background of the socialist economy. That time no one was ready to think of a capitalistic understating of economy to be better positioned to uplift the downtrodden. When the economy was liberalised, only then we could see that open market has a tremendous potential to change the lives of the poor; by creating new jobs, and also involving a huge number of people into market activities.

The changed perspective and practice did great wonders. After many decades we now see a kind of exploitation accumulating in the capitalist states and societies. It is here that our thinking minds in the government need to reconfigure the whole system of welfare. The governments will have to redesign the schemes, redistribute the resource for it, and reformulate the patterns of affirmative action. By making small changes here and there no significant change can be made to the lives of the poor and the marginalised. A radical shift from the existing ways of thinking and doing is needed. A new economic paradigm and a fresh political articulation is needed to uplift the swathes of population living in poverty.