Staff Correspondent

MANGALORE: Globalisation, privatisation, liberalisation has resulted in two absolute extremes — extreme inclusion and extreme exclusion — the former chairman of the Department of Political Science, Hyderabad Central University, Haragopal has said.

“There is enough empirical data to substantiate exclusion. But how do we link our data to the larger philosophical questions that we must ask as a responsible society,” said Mr. Haragopal, who was here on Wednesday to deliver a lecture at a national seminar on “Social exclusion, poverty and livelihood of marginalised groups in India”. The seminar was organised by the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Mangalore University.

Pointing out that the major feature of the liberalisation era was a shift from manufacturing to services, he said: “In this era, the meaning of the word ‘service’ has been transformed. Today, a service is a commodity that is for sale.” Expressing concern over the retreat of the State from services of health and education, Mr. Haragopal said: “Today, you ‘buy’ an education, you ‘buy’ good health. It is this business of buying and selling that is excluding large sections.”

Quoting an example from his own life, he recounted the time his watchman’s daughter was on the verge of committing suicide.

“She was adamant that she wanted to study medicine. The government medical college had no seats and the private college was charging Rs. 40 lakh as fee. There were other people whose children had secured less marks, but they still had managed to get a seat because they could afford it, he said.

The watchman’s daughter was excluded from the business of buying and selling education, he said. “But her exclusion creates a chain of events that leads to a greater exclusion,” he said.

Reasoning that a student who pays Rs. 40 lakh is unlikely to be interested in anything but leveraging the investment and least likely to provide service to the excluded sections, he said: “The Dalit and tribal people of this country are excluded from healthcare because of the business that happens in a far-off medical college.”