ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Economy-Worthy of Subsidy

to Rs 1,851 crore for 1986-87. Taking credit for the increased allocation for programmes such as IRDP and NREP, the Finance Minister has said that they provide the "best hope for higher incomes and better living conditions'' for the "poorest sections of our society". This perhaps is as close as one can hope to get to an admission by a government spokesman that the notion that the gains of the present pattern of growth do trickle down, benefiting all sections, including the poorest, has little basis. Instead it becomes increasingly necessary to have programmes which are in effect arrangements for dole-payment to ameliorate the destitution and discontent of the poorest sections who while not benefiting from the present pattern of growth may often be adversely affected by the inflation and the destruction of traditional occupations and employment opportunities engendered by it. Of course, the so-called anti-poverty programmes serve other purposes as well. They are a useful means for ruling party politicians to establish patronage networks. Again, it is notorious how large a proportion of the outlay on the anti-poverty programmes actually ends up in the pockets of the rich and the powerful, so much so that it would not be far wrong to attribute the larger allocation for these programmes to the clamour from the rural power elite for their share of the cake to balance the many gains which have accrued to the urban rich from the government's liberalisation programmes Muslim Women Bill Ill-Considered, Anti-Woman THE Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Bill, 1986 introduced in the Lok Sabha early this week is retrograde, ill- considered and anti-woman. Whatever the objectives the Prime Minister and his advisers were hoping to achieve, and whatever the future course the Bill will take in Parliament, one thing is certain: it might, rather ironically, have sharpened and strengthened progressive movements among Muslims. In addition the introduction of the Bill has brought into the open the growing discontent within the Congress and has served to focus attention on the Rajiv Gandhi's style of government

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