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Social Change and Development in India

BOX 6.9 “The largest number of poor people lives in South Asia. The poverty rate is particularly high in India, Nepal and Bangladesh,” states an ILO report “Labour and Social Trends in Asia and the Pacific 2005”… The study provides a stark analysis of a growing ‘employment gap’ in the Asia region. It states that the creation of new jobs has failed to keep pace with the region’s impressive economic growth. Between 2003 and 2004, employment in Asia and the Pacific increased by a ‘disappointing’ 1.6 per cent, or by 25 million jobs, to a total of 1.588 billion jobs, compared to the strong economic growth rate of over 7 per cent.

“Job Growth Remains Disappointing- ILO” Labour File September - October 2005 p.54.


Another key issue regarding globalisation and labour is the relationship between employment and globalisation. Here too we seen the uneven impact of globalisation. For the middle class youth from urban centers, globalisation and the IT revolution has opened up new career opportunities. Instead of routinely picking up BSc/BA/BCom degree from colleges, they are learning computer languages at computer institutes or taking up jobs at call centers or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies. They are working as sales persons in shopping malls or picking up jobs at the various restaurants that have opened up. Yet as the box 6.9 shows broader trends of employment are disappointing.


In many ways it was a major political change, namely, the collapse of the erstwhile socialist world that hastened globalisation. And also gave a specific economic and political approach to the economic policies that underpin globalisation. These changes are often termed as neo-liberal economic measures. We have already seen what concrete steps the liberalisation policy took in India. Broadly these policies reflect a political vision of free enterprise which believes that a free reign to market forces will be both efficient and fair. It is, therefore, critical of both state regulation and state subsidies. The existing process of globalisation in this sense does have a political vision as much as an economic vision. However, the possibilities that there can be a globalisation which is different do exist. We, thus have the concept of an inclusive globalisation, that is one, which includes all sections of society.

Another significant political development which is accompanying globalisation is the growth of international and regional mechanisms for political collaboration. The European Union (EU), the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asian Regional Conference (SARC) and more recently South Asian Federation of Trade Association (SAFTA) are just some of the examples that indicate the greater role of regional associations.


The other political dimension has been the rise of International Governmental Organisations. (IGOs) and International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs). An intergovernmental organisation is a body that is established by participating governments and given responsibility for regulating, or overseeing a particular domain of activity that is transnational in scope. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) for instance increasingly has a major say in the rules that govern trade practices.

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