inclusive development

Factors affecting inclusive development

This section will highlight some of the major factors affecting inclusive development. Though there are several complex factors, yet some of the major factors are important to mention here. This section has a brief discussion on factors such as inequity, social exclusion, deprivation, disparity and displacement affecting inclusive development. It is also important to note that all these factors are not clearly distinctive from each other rather interrelated and affect each other in a number of ways.

i) Inequity

One cannot ignore the fundamental inequalities in society, many of which cannot be explained by differences in individual aptitude or inclination. The socioeconomic and political structure plays very significant role in sustaining those inequity consequently hindering the development. Inclusive development is based on the premises of equity. As has already been discussed above, the growing inequity in the wake of rapid globalization bring new and multiple challenge to the inclusive process.

Internationally equity groups are those who have been historically excluded, under-served, including Blacks, Latinos, Asian/Pacific Islanders, American Indians, women, persons with disabilities, and the economically disadvantaged.

Now there is more enlarged list of groups that include other groups, most prominently gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, remain frequent targets of harassment and discrimination.

Now there has been growing concern on how to bring sustainable development Inclusive Development which is not possible without equity. One of the pioneering thinkers on equity
and sustainable development is Amarya Sen. He is probably best known for his work on the causes of famine, which has considerably influenced the academic field of development studies as well as the policies of the UNDP. The central argument in this book “Poverty and Famines” is that famine is not caused by a negative (Malthusian) relationship between population and food supply, but by the inability of famine-prone individuals to access food in times of great need, even when food supplies are adequate. Hence, hunger and famine can be the result of a food demand problem but due to a human-made inequitable distribution system of food, and not necessarily a supply problem, as it is often presented.
Inequity thus is a serious problem causing human deprivation. Amartya Sen advocates the principle of equality which is based on the capability to functioning.

According to Sen, capability to functioning is of two kinds: elementary ones such as being in good health, nourished, sheltered and the more complex, social ones such as having self respect, taking part in the life of the community etc. Achievement of an individual is the set of these realized functioning. Whereas capability refers to the real options that someone has in order to pursue his subjective functioning who prefers most. Inequalities related to class, gender, communities deprive human freedom and thus decreasing our capability to function.

ii) Social Exclusion

The concept of social inclusion has the advantage of situating individuals in a social and relational context instead of individual characteristics. Moreover, the experience of exclusion of some sort, unlike the experience of poverty or discrimination, is nearly universal. Inclusion or exclusion as concept is very complex and intertwined with the very psychic and social life of the individual. The social structure itself promotes inequality and excludes people from participating in the social life. The practice of patriarchy, caste and various other forms also exclude many in the society and hence create a hindrance to progressive and developed social living. There is no easy strategy to overcome inequality
and promote inclusiveness in all aspect of socio-cultural and economic life.

Social inclusion is an affirmative action to change the circumstances and habits that lead to (or have led to) social exclusion. Social Inclusion is a strategy to combat social exclusion, but it is not making reparations or amends for past wrongs as in Affirmative Action. It is the coordinated response to the very complex system of problems that are known as social exclusion. The notion of social inclusion can vary according to the type of strategies organizations adopted. “Social exclusion is about the inability of our society to keep all groups and individuals within reach of what we expect as a society…[or] to realize their full potential.” The problem of social exclusion is usually tied to the problem of equal opportunity, as some people are more subject to such exclusion than others.

Marginalization of certain groups is a problem even in many economically more developed countries, including the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US), where the majority of the population enjoys considerable economic and social opportunities.

Social structure plays a very pivotal role in creating exclusion and inclusion. Countries like India having citizens from multi ethnic, multi religion and multi cultural background creates a state with amazing diversity. At the same time this often poses a great challenge to the harmony of the country. The constitutional democracy guarantees the equality of all citizens before the law and promotes affirmative action to all section underrepresented in social spheres.

iii) Poverty

The impacts of exclusion are felt by those who are excluded, predominantly the poor. The more profound the exclusion — that is the more ways in which an individual or community experiences multiple exclusions — the more devastating the impacts. Poverty is serious challenges to the inclusive development which must be tackled in a systematic manner. According to UNDP (1998) “…Human poverty is deprivation in multiple dimensions, not just income. Industrial countries need to monitor poverty in all its dimensions — not just income and unemployment, but also lack of basic capabilities such as health and literacy, important factors is whether a person is included in or excluded from the life of a community.” World Bank defines “Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter.

Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom”. The poor rarely take part in decision-making that affects their lives, and as a consequence they cannot claim a share of development; development passes them by. The poor are vulnerable to societal or personal calamities, and to harassment and exploitation by more powerful groups in society.

In short, the poor are trapped in a vicious circle of poverty from which it is extremely difficult to escape. Through inclusion the poor will develop enhanced capability and be able to expand ability to become more productive and earn higher income. Giving the example of inclusive education and health care, Amartya Sen had remarked that “the more inclusive the reach of basic education and healthcare, the more likely it is that even the potentially poor would have a better chance of overcoming penury”.

iv) Disparity

Wide spread disparities in terms of region, gender, caste and class etc. are evident in different parts of the world. Disparities are the result of a set of factors i.e natural differences, socio-cultural conditions and policy decisions. Natural factors, such as differences in colour and race of a person, agro-climatic conditions, where they live in, endowment with natural resources or geographical location, such as distance to a seaport or a centre of commerce, determine the potential for economic development of an area or a region. Some conditions, such as climate and natural endowments, are largely invariable, while others can be improved through such infrastructure as roads to overcome isolation and irrigation to overcome arid conditions. Socio-cultural factors, such as values
and traditions that encourage or discourage social and economic mobility, innovation and entrepreneurship, form a second set of factors. Policy decisions are those undertaken by the ruling class or government to impact on development.

The government policies often promote disparities due to biased and vested interest. For example favouring big corporate at the cost of masses, rural vs urban, regional favouritism etc. are very much prevalent across the world at both Inclusive Development national and international level. Inclusive development will address these disparities in a manner that promote more equity.

v) Displacement

By their high frequency, cumulative magnitude, and destructive socio-economic and cultural effects, forced displacements have come to be recognized as a severe pathology of development. These processes give rise to massive socio-economic  losses, to pain and suffering, to growing resistance movements.As high as 26 million people are seriously affected and denied the benefit of development due to the displacement. Out of these, women and children and senior citizens are the most disadvantage group affected by the displacement.

Quite a substantial number of people as proportion to the national population are affected by internal displacement. This displacement poses potential risk to the development process. Cernea has identified eight interlinked potential risks intrinsic to displacement.

1) Landlessness– Expropriation of land removes the main foundation upon which people’s productive systems, commercial activities, and livelihoods are constructed.

2) Joblessness– The risk of losing wage employment is very high both in urban and rural displacements for those employed in enterprises, services or agriculture. Yet creating new jobs is difficult and requires substantial investment.

3) Homelessness– Loss of shelter tends to be only temporary for many people being resettled; but, for some, homelessness or a worsening in their housing standards remains a lingering condition. In a broader cultural sense, loss of a family’s individual home and the loss of a group’s cultural space tend to result in alienation and status deprivation.

4) Marginalization– Marginalization occurs when families lose economic power and spiral on a “downward mobility” path. Many individuals cannot use their earlier-acquired skills at the new location; human capital is lost or rendered inactive or obsolete. Economic marginalization is often accompanied by social and psychological marginalization.

5) Food Insecurity– Forced uprooting increases the risk that people will fall into temporary or chronic undernourishment, defined as calorie-protein intake levels below the minimum necessary for normal growth and work.

6) Increased Morbidity and Mortality– Displacement-induced social stress and psychological trauma, the use of unsafe water supply and improvised sewage systems, increase vulnerability to epidemics and chronic diarrhoea, dysentery, or particularly parasitic and vector-borne diseases such as malaria and schistosomiasis.

7) Loss of Access to Common Property– For poor people, loss of access to the common property assets that belonged to relocated communities (pastures, forest lands, water bodies, burial grounds, quarries and so on) result in significant deterioration in income and livelihood levels.

8) Social Disintegration– Displacement causes a profound unraveling of existing patterns of social organization. This unraveling occurs at many levels. When people are forcibly moved, production systems, life-sustaining informal networks, trade linkages, etc are dismantled.

Thus, there is an urgent requirement for inclusive approach to integrate the  displaced people in the mainstream development.

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