FINANCE MINISTER Arun Jaitley said on Saturday that civil society members would have to work alongside policymakers in order to bring the poor to the forefront of poverty alleviation.
Jaitley, addressing the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation Awards ceremony in Mumbai as the chief guest, said that along with the state, social activists and civil society members need to work on fighting poverty and ensuring that they push policymakers to ensure that the poor are brought into the forefront. “There has to be social activism of civil society to continue to flag the plight of the poor, to knock at policymakers and bring the poor to the forefront and remove them from their present condition of destitution. Whether it is the government, or civil society, we will have to resolve to work together to remove poverty,” Jaitley said.
Earlier, he said, “On the fundamental question of how do you fight poverty in a country like India, the first element is that society must have the resources to fight it. You need a high level of growth. Growth brings resources. The policy of the state to achieve a high level of growth is necessary but it will not alone remove poverty. The benefit of the additional resources that the state has, has to then be transferred through various poverty alleviation policies,” he said.
Speaking of the role of Jamnalal Bajaj in the freedom movement, Jaitley said that while there were such examples of people involved in business and industry associating with public affairs, such experiences have been ‘varied’. “Earlier, the relationship between the freedom movement which was essentially a political movement was honest, honourable and transparent. We have a few examples of it today. But today, if businesses were to intrinsically relate themselves to public affairs, it would raise many eyebrows,” Jaitley said.
He added, “Experiences of late in this regard have been somewhat mixed. Therefore, we are waiting for the more honourable, more transparent relationships to become evident. If this kind of transparent relationship of those in public affairs and those in industry can be recreated, its ability to inspire and contribute would be much higher to make the country a better place to live in.”
At the function, Shashi Tyagi, Secretary of Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti, Jan Swasthya Sahyog, Dr Praveen Nair, Chairperson of the Salaam Baalak Trust and Dr Ziad Medoukh, Director, French Department, Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, Palestine, were felicitated for their work.
Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation, said that the awardees “represented the ethos and fundamentals of the Gandhian way of life”.
Medoukh, who is known for his work with the young in Gaza, could not be in Mumbai to receive the award.
“The Israeli siege of the Gaza strip and the closure of the crossing by the Israeli army prevented me from getting out of my open prison. I tried hard and had to wait at the borders for two days hoping for a temporary opening of the crossing and though I got all permission, I was denied getting out,” Medoukh said in a video-recorded speech. Medoukh was awarded for promoting Gandhian values outside India. He said that he had spread the principle of non-violence through his lectures.