Delivering a keynote address at the inauguration of a convention on “Institutional Processes in New Development Paradigms” at the Institute for Social and Economic Change, here on Thursday, he said the members belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who constitute about 27 per cent of the country’s total population, are still facing discrimination.
It may be in terms of wages or education or health, they are not being treated at par with others in many parts of the country. As a result, there is unequal distribution of wealth. This, according to Mungekar, is one of the key reasons for poverty level to remain at a higher level for long time now, despite the country achieving higher rates of economic growth. The Planning Commission too has acknowledged that major weakness in the economy is lack of inclusive growth.
“Though the percentage of population below the official poverty line has come down from 36 per cent in 1993-94 to 28 per cent in 2004-05, the rate of decline in poverty has not accelerated along with the GDP growth. And the incidents of poverty among certain marginalised groups like STs have hardly declined,” Mungekar noted.