D-Sector for Development Community

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Head Count
By D-Sector Team


Even if not much is known about them, the country cannot afford to let the Khairwar tribe disappear into oblivion. Reports indicate that only 30 families of the tribe are left in their native Madhya Pradesh and given the tribe's poor reproductive abilities in recent years (the reasons for which have yet to be determined) it is but a matter of time before we lose a 'living heritage'. Not only for its distinct genetic identity, each tribe ought to be valued for its distinct repository of cultural practices too. Madhya Pradesh did invest in reviving the Pahadi Korba tribe in the past and there is no reason why it should not rescue the shrinking number of the Khairwar now.

Should the state interfere in the reproductive affairs of a community? The Planning Commission had recently rejected a somewhat similar plea to boost the dwindling population of the Parsi community (numbering 66,000 only) on the ground that all minority groups are facing 'fertility' crises. Though the Parsis have distinct social practices that the state may not like to delve into, the Commission's worry has been that setting up such a precedence will deluge it with similar requests from other minority communities. But if a state can invest in 'population control' to restrict the overall head count, should it shy away from ensuring that all types of 'heads' get fair representation in the final head count?



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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
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By Rina Mukherji
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