‘Inequality main barrier to building peaceful society in SA’

‘Inequality main barrier to building peaceful society in SA’

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Dhaka – Speakers at the 9th South Asia Economic Summit in the city on Sunday said inequality stands as the main barrier to building an inclusive, just and peaceful society in South Asia, UNB news agency reported.
They mentioned structural sources of injustice in South Asia originate in four areas –-inequitable access to productive assets, inequitable participation in the market, inequitable access to human development and unjust governance.They made the remarks while addressing the 4th plenary session titled ‘Towards an Inclusive, Just and Peaceful Society in South Asia: Who are the Change Agents?’ on the concluding day of the two-day international summit in a city hotel. Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury was the chief guest at the concluding session.
The speakers proposed policy interventions for attaining some targets to remove structural injustice from the region.
The targets are expanding the ownership and control capacities of the resource-poor over productive assets, strengthening the capacity of the poor to compete in the market place, democratising their access to a knowledge-based society, ensuring quality healthcare for all, redesigning budgetary policy to reach public resources to the poor, restructuring monetary policy to deliver credit and providing savings instruments to the poor, designing institutions for the excluded and empowering the excluded.
Centre for Policy Development (CPD) in collaboration with four other regional think tanks- RIS (India), SAWTEE (Nepal), SDPI (Pakistan) and IPS (Sri Lanka) — organised the summit with the theme of ‘Reimaging South Asia in 2030′.
Ministers, parliamentarians, politicians, economists, media personalities, academicians from the South Asia joined the summit.
Addressing the 4th plenary session, CPD founding chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan said poverty reduction remains incorporated in the policy agendas of all governments in South Asia, while less attention has been given to the widening of inequalities or to exploring the scope for corrective action.
“If we aspire to build more peaceful societies we must recognise that a social order where millions of people remain condemned to lives of insecurities, poised on the margins of subsistence, where the quality of their education condemns them to a life of toil, where an episode of ill health could drive their entire family into destitution, is neither just nor sustainable,” he said.
“A political order where those with wealth can use it to capture and perpetuate themselves in power, while those millions who vote them to power have no opportunity to either share this power or to determine how its fruits are consumed, is unjust and hence unsustainable,” Prof Sobhan went on.
Terming equality the norm of a just society, Director of Human Development Report Office of UNDP Bangladesh Dr Selim Jahan said equality of opportunity and outcomes are needed for building a just and peaceful society.
He said there should be dialogue and consensus on how the society can be run.
Professor of University of Ulster, UK Dr SR Osmani said inequality will lead social exclusion in the future. So, justice within hope is precondition to social prosperity and integrity, he added. RIS Director General Dr Sachin Chaturvedi moderated the session.

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