'Anti-poverty policy should have non-discriminatory bent'

'Anti-poverty policy should have non-discriminatory bent'

Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD and MP Oscar Fernandes inaugurating a national conference on ‘Dr B R Ambedkar and Social Justice in Modern India: Policies,  Institutions and Experiences’ in Mangalore University on Saturday.  DH photo

University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof Sukhdeo Thorat said that anti-poverty policy should be supplemented by non-discriminatory bent to bring the marginalised section of the society to the mainstream.

Delivering a key-note address at a national conference on ‘Dr B R Ambedkar and Social Justice in Modern India: Policies, Institutions and Experiences’ organised by the Centre for Dr B R Ambedkar Studies at Mangalore University here on Saturday, he said weaker sections of the society mainly Dalits, denotified tribals and women face discrimination inspite of the support given by the government to alleviate poverty in the form of land, monetary aid to set up business. As a result, they continue to remain poor, he added.
He said poor from higher castes suffer from lack of resources to come up in life. However, people from the lower class not only suffer from lack of resources but also from discrimination.

He said social exclusion and discrimination of a section of people is still a problem in the country. “We have to learn a lot from the teachings of Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi on social justice.”

He said “demand of social justice gave rise to reservation policy in the country. Now more and more castes are seeking reservation. Instead of individual policy, people are demanding group specific policy.”

Prof Thorat said that about one third of population are poor in the country, because they do not have permanent source of income, suffer from malnutrition.

“The policy suggested by Ambedkar for the emancipation of the weaker section of society include equal rights, legal protection, reservation policy, participation of the minority in the governance are relevant even to this day. For social democracy, we need inclusive participation of all,” he added.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD Chairman and MP Oscar Fernandes said social emancipation along with the economic freedom of the weaker sections of the society will give stability to the country.

“The country will get real freedom only when all the weaker sections of the society are empowered. Empowerment and social justice to weaker sections are the real freedom which Gandhi and Ambedkar had dreamt off. The first step towards empowerment of weaker sections of the people was introduction of reservation,” he added.

He said empowerment and education should go hand in hand. The government has passed a legislation to provide compulsory education to all the children between the age group of 6 and 14. Legislation alone can not bring in social justice. All of us should fight, so that each and every child gets education.

“For the country to emerge as a developed country, we have to provide necessary freedom to the weaker sections of the society,” he added.

In his presidential speech, Mangalore University Vice-Chancellor Prof T C Shivashankaramurthy said the Mangalore University intends to start Study Centre on Swamy Vivekananda, Brahmashri Narayana Guru and Ram Manohar Lohia. Mangalore University is the only university in Karnataka to have Study Centre on Buddha.

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