Nobel Prize from the poor
Today in the world nearly 3 billion people out of 7 billion live in poverty. And more than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty . The World Bank also gives a similar figure of those people living in extreme poverty. 1 billion children are living under terribly harsh conditions. According to a UNICEF report 22 ,000 children die every day due to poverty.
In this 21 century fighting poverty is still a great challenge everywhere. Even the intellectuals are on the job . This time Nobel Prize for economics goes to those three economists who deploy RCT (randomised control trials) in their work – something to do with evidence based poverty identification and alleviation. Rather this is a method to look for evidence – the need to use evidence as an important input in policy making. RCT is increasingly used by many researchers as an effective tool to devise feasible solutions to complex development challenges .
Abhijit and Esther( Nobel laureates husband and wife ) have been working with many committed researchers worldwide to fight poverty and inequality in cost-effective and innovatively way. They are working in many countries. They try to find practical means to eradicate poverty, improve the educational standards of women, increase the immunization rates among children etc .
RCT as a tool bring out evidence to policy framers in a more acceptable way . This is done by pooling the best insights from randomised evaluations in more than 80 countries. These scientific inputs have convinced many policy makers to indulge in evidence-based policy decisions.
Abhijit and others have reaffirm that many things can be done for the poor . Billionaires, multinationals , politicians, bourgeoises even intellectuals and researches may use this tool to reach out to those people who are poor and helpless. Policy makers , government agencies, international organizations, philanthropists can do all kinds of benevolent works based on RCT method.
I am neither an economists nor an intellectual ; but certainly I am a common man who expresses common concern for the people. Every intelligent person will explore the possibilities of exploiting the masses. Poor people generally constitute the masses. Today the struggle is - how to influence the masses, how to make them buy their product, how to convince them, how to get their support and votes, how to become a hero of these uncountable people. If you are successful to do so you are among the winners. My point is once you have successfully exploited the poor directly or indirectly, please give them something in return.
A few days back I could read this year’s global hunger index. In that index our position is sliding down. Over the last few years the country has actually plummeted nine ranks in the index. This is a matter of concern . Our neighbours have pulled ahead of us. Even Nepal is above us. Addressing malnutrition must be top priority of our government both for the State and Centre. Weak human capital means gloomy future for us. Proper feeding is necessary for all particularity the children because they are the pillars of our development.
Fighting poverty and hunger is still a main agenda of the century. Abhijit Banerjee and others have proved that better research input can do a lot of good things in the struggle against poverty. Poverty is still there in every part of the world, particularly in the third world countries. In India too despite Garibi Hatao and Acche Din we still have a huge population under the shadow of poverty.
In an interview to TOI Mr Abhijit talked about the luxury of ladies’ finger in our jails; ladies’ finger was still for the privileged jail-mates. As a student he was in Tihar jail for about ten days as a repercussion of some agitation in Jawaharlal Nehru University. He recalls ,“if you happened to have a BA degree you were entitled to bhindi (ladies’-finger) and if not, you didn’t get it. I am not joking. So I do remember our passionate fight for the right to bhindi.”
"It is not about the answers but it is about arguments to get to the answers”, Abhijit Banerjee.