Sustainable development without amicable growth challenges of societal injustice
Sustainable development is taken to mean as the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It underlines the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority needs to be given (World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future 1987). At the core of sustainable development is the need to consider “three pillars” together: society, economy and environment (OECD 2008). In a way, this demands harmony between resources and time, space and various social segments with preferential emphasis on the development of the marginalised social segments. The inclusive approach for sustainable development recognizes the need for all people to be involved in the process and decisions that affect their lives. Societies and economies which are embedded with lack or absence of harmony and practice exclusivity obstructing development of certain poor segments of society may neither develop well nor sustain development. In view of this, the Caste System and within it the de facto position of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs) emerge as a major point of intense consideration in relation to sustainable development.
The available evidence shows that the SC/STs continue to remain a deprived lot. The importance of human resource capital, particularly education, for growth is duly recognised but the SC/STs are obstructed even in the institution of learning from acquiring potentialities for the required purpose. Also, they face psychologically aggressive environment on account of their birth-based (humiliating) status and this denudes them of self respect and nips their productive potential at the budding stage. Moreover, they acquire psychological sickness of sorts. At the end of the day, they emerge as burden even for themselves instead of being productive stake holders in the society and economy.
Can we move on the path of sustainable development by neglecting SC/STs? This demands an immediate as well as long term solution. The first and foremost need is to come out of denial mode. Or else, our economy and society is, in all likelihood, to face consequences associated with racism.
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