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UNDP report calls for rethink on globalisation

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Feb. 14

THE Human Development in South Asia Report 2001, which was released on Thursday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Parliamentarians Forum for Human Development (PFHD), addresses the theme of globalisation and human development. Its main thrust is on the need for a rethink on globalisation in South Asia for social costs to be minimised and economic benefits to be maximised.

It reveals that half a billion people in South Asia - i.e., 40 per cent of the population - have experienced a decline in their income.

Though it is often argued that initially countries have to pay the costs of globalisation in the form of a rise in income inequality, the report raises the question: who is to bear this burden of short-term costs? The report also shows that under the influence of stabilisation, policies that call for elimination of subsidies and price support measures and social safety nets have been weakened.

And globalisation has not brought with it poverty reduction or an improvement in human development in the region.

For the majority of South Asians, globalisation has given way to higher prices, fewer employment opportunities, greater disparity in income and more poverty. In short, the report says, that globalisation is yet to work for the poor in South Asia.

The report was prepared by the Islamabad-based Mahbub-ul-Haq Human Development Centre. Its release was accompanied by a panel discussion on the topic chaired by the Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, Dr Najma Heptullah.

The panel included senior economist Dr K. Seetha Prabhu, development expert Ms Devaki Jain, Prof. Jayati Ghosh and Financial Express editor, Dr Sanjaya Baru.

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