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`Why so much hue and cry over some money for the poor?'

Staff Reporter

No one questions the scams, or is bothered about corruption, laments Aruna Roy



Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy.

NEW DELHI: Denouncing general opposition and scepticism over the much talked about Rural Employment Guarantee Bill passed by Parliament this week, renowned social activist Aruna Roy on Wednesday said no one in the country was worried about corruption or the world financial organisations and corporations that were ruining India's economy and social infrastructure. "But when there is a proposal to give some money to the poor, people make a lot of hue and cry."

Delivering the Seventh D.S. Borker Memorial Lecture on "My Vision of India: 2047 AD", the winner of the Magsaysay Award for community leadership lamented that nobody was asking for remittance of crores of rupees that big companies owe to banks as loan amounts, nobody was bothered about crores of rupees being siphoned off in various scams, but when it came to giving the rural poor the right to employment, it seemed that everybody was annoyed.

`Poor more ethical'

"We blame the poor for every problem, even media does the same. We say poor people are a drain on the economy. This is a wrong perception. In fact, it is the educated and literate class that are deeply involved in corruption. Literacy cannot remove corruption, it can be removed through ethics, and poor and illiterate people are more ethical in their behaviour compared to an educated person. We have lost morality and it is our doublespeak that is harming the nation," she remarked.

Ms. Roy, who is also a member of the National Advisory Council set up by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government, said: "If this present trend persists, by 2047 the poor in this country will be more pulverised. It will be a nightmare with society witnessing unbelievable violence. We will be a failed nation, a democracy in a shambles. We need to ensure right to life and employment for poor people who deserve to live in dignity."

Underlining the need for a major change in the way of thinking of law-makers, Ms. Roy said unless those running the nation and framing policies start thinking as citizens of a free nation, the fate of India would not change. "Our future will be defined from our actions taken today.

The challenge is whether decisions taken today will shape India's future or enslave it. What is threatening us as Indians is the narrowing of our identity where we are divided by caste, religion and region."

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