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Development as a ‘Norms-Rights Transition Process’ Through Public Action

Pillai N., Vijayamohanan (2003): Development as a ‘Norms-Rights Transition Process’ Through Public Action.

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Abstract

The present paper has constituted the background source for a number of studies; it sets out to build up an interpretation of the conception of poverty in its multidimensional existence within the framework of human rights, human development and decentralization. Here we discuss the various implications of the links and linkages among human rights, freedom and development to develop a theoretical framework. Within this, we start from the original conception of poverty in terms of minimum rights to resources, by which people are seen as entitled, as citizens, to a minimum income. This is then extended to the comprehensive conception of development as freedom, a la AK Sen, approaching poverty in terms of right to freedom. We argue that political freedom has substantial linkages towards social and economic freedom, all together constituting development, seen as ‘removal of major sources of unfreedom’ of both income and non-income dimensions. In the hard core constitution of development/poverty, seen in terms of the most basic human right to life, the former (income dimension) specifies the right to resources, and thus to employment guarantee, while the latter signifies the right to building up human capital by means especially of health and education. Here we delineate the dynamic sequence of development as entitlement → access → freedom. This highlights the significance of the role of the state in opening up opportunities, that is, creating capabilities. Here individual freedom is taken up as a social commitment. we argue that community participation in development process through decentralisation of state power and functionings constitutes an autonomous and hence ideal means of targeting and tackling development issues through co-operatives. This in turn implies that the degree of decentralisation of power of a state is an indicator of its concern for and commitment to human development. This all the more becomes pertinent in the context of liberalisation drives by a state in its teleological transformation of role reduction. And the liberalisation drives by the concerned state thus imply a human rights violation.

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