Jaitley: our priority is to eliminate deprivation

‘The solution is to achieve rapid economic growth’

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday that the number one priority of the government was to remove the deprivation reflected in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) released on Friday.

“The way to eliminate deprivation is to achieve rapid economic growth of 8 per cent to 10 percent so that good jobs are created for all Indians quickly,” he said and added that was why the government was promoting investment.

In a post on Facebook, Mr. Jaitley revisited the age-old poverty-growth debate on the choice is between growth and redistribution. He also mentioned the choice between pursuing growth-generating policy reforms and targeted anti-poverty schemes and concluded: “We believe these are false choices… Both are necessary… Growth and economic reforms help the poor as do targeted schemes… That is the message we draw from the SECC.”

The Census shows that while “great strides” had been made to improve the economic lives of the poor, deprivation of one kind or another was still high, he wrote.

About 30 per cent of households encounter at least two out of the SECC’s seven measures of deprivation and 49 percent of households at least one, according to the SECC findings.

The Finance Minister said that a permanent, formal sector and well-paid jobs were the best anti-poverty measure.

The SECC, he said, reflected this conclusion: out of the seven measures of deprivation, the one that leads to the greatest amount of deprivation is being a landless household that derives a major part of its income from manual casual labour.

Rural infrastructure

Mr. Jaitley mentioned the government’s “ambitious” programme to increase public investment in roads, railways, rural infrastructure and connectivity and also the conditions it was creating for greater private investment, including roll out of the Goods & Services Tax and creating a common market, reforming the land law, easing the costs of doing business, and unblocking stalled projects.

“To reinforce the effects of growth on alleviating deprivation, but also to help those that may be left out, we need targeted schemes and policies,” Mr. Jaitley wrote.

The Minister says a permanent, formal sector and well-paid jobs are the best anti-poverty measure

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