Urban-centric growth widens rich, poor gap
“Nepal’s total economic structure is dependent on poverty,” claimed Dr Raghav Dhoj Pant, executive director, IfDS at an interaction on Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Nepal, organised by Forum for Protection of Public Interest and South Asia Watch on Trade, Economic and Environment (SAWTEE) here in the valley today. Commenting on the paper presented by Dr Shiva Sharma, general secretary, National Labour Academy, Dr Pant said that the vicious cycle of poverty is beneficial for the ‘haves’. “Urban-centric growth has increased the gap between rich and poor,” he added. Poverty could be reduced, if the economic growth were equal, said Dr Posh Raj Pandey, member of the National Planning Commission, the national think-tank. “Interim programme focuses on reducing unemployment, poverty and inequality,” he said, adding that there is a direct and indirect link between growth and poverty., which is multidimensional. “Higher the growth, lesser the poverty, according to the theory,” said Dr Dilli Raj Khanal, economist-turned-parliamenterian. “But growth has given rise to inequality and ultimately inequality will give rise to poverty. In the last eight years, poverty has gone down by 11 per cent and at the same time inequality has gone up,” he added. “Increasing fuel prices, declining exports and low foreign direct investment flow have adverse affect in poverty reduction,” Ratnakar Adhikari, executive chairman at SAWTEE, speaking on the occasion, said. Dr Shree Krishna Shrestha, president of Pro-Public, Professor Bhuwan Bajracharya, Professor Dr Devendra Chhetri head at the central department of Statics, Associate Professor Dr Bishwa Nath Tiwari, Uttam Narayan Malla, deputy director general at the Central Bureau of Statics also shared their views on the occasion.