December 20, 2014 4:26:42 am
At a time when the country is debating the role of large scale subsidies in a development-led growth model pursued by the NDA government at the Centre, no views carry a stronger resonance than that of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. A strong advocate of government spending in health and education sectors, he argues that for long-term sustainable growth, India must take care of the needs of the poor, especially women.
Sen, 81, an economist-philosopher and a leading voice on politics and justice, will be the guest at Express Adda at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi on Saturday night. He is the Thomas W Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University.
An uncertain glory: India and its contradictions, a book Sen co-authored with Jean Dreze and released last July, had attracted criticism from a section of the polity for its advocacy of government spending on subsidies and welfare programmes.
At an Idea Exchange programme after the release of the book last year, Amartya, as he prefers to be called by all, said, “I have read from the newspapers that I have already declared myself pro-UPA. With these discoveries, perhaps I need an introduction.”
The Adda on Saturday will be moderated by Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a columnist with The Indian Express and President of Centre for Policy Research, and Deputy Editor Seema Chishti.
Sen, who won the Nobel in 1998 for his contributions to welfare economics, was also honoured by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1999 with the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award. He strongly defends subsidies and does not support the idea that only subsidies for the poor should be cut, and not those for the rich.
He feels that the concerns over subsidies and fiscal responsibility should not be restricted only to benefits that go to the poor.
Sen has brought conscience to economics and his works have contributed to the United Nations Human Development Index. The HDI adds social and welfare dimension to the otherwise sole metric of growth, the gross domestic product.
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