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‘Slowdown to hit social sector spending’

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Noble Laureate Prof Amartya Sen at the valedictory session of PanIIT 2008, the global conference for IIT alumni, in Chennai on Sunday.
Noble Laureate Prof Amartya Sen at the valedictory session of PanIIT 2008, the global conference for IIT alumni, in Chennai on Sunday.

Our Bureau

Chennai, Dec 21 Economic slowdown will have its impact on Government spending on social sectors such as education and health however, it is important to protect public income, Nobel Laureate Dr Amartya Sen has said.

Addressing the plenary session at PanIIT 2008 Global Conference a meeting organised by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) alumni here, Dr Sen said India has a high proportion of malnourished children. Freedom of speech would not help improve the life of common man since illiteracy is high.

Famines do not occur in functioning democracies where the media is free and the opposition is strong. However, several serious concerns of the poor like hunger, education and healthcare do not get the attention of the media as these are camouflaged by other issues. People who benefit from affirmative action tend to contribute more for the poorer sections of the society, he said.

Responding to whether reservations would impact the quality of IITs and other such institutions, Dr Sen said it would help the underprivileged, supporting the society in the long run.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 22, 2008)
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