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PM praises Somnath; Amartya speaks on basic issues

New Delhi, Tue, 12 Aug 2008 NI Wire

While delivering the inaugural of Hiren Mukherjee Memorial Parliamentary Lecture on “Demands of Social Justice” in the Central Hall of Parliament House, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday lauding Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee praised his inspirational leadership.

The PM quoted as saying that the entire country has come to look up to him for balance and fair play in the functioning of our Lok Sabha. He is, as I have said, a true inheritor of the legacy of Comrade Hiren Mukherjee.

Prime Minister further thanked Chatterjee for inviting Professor Amartya Sen to address on a theme of great contemporary relevance of social justice.

The Lok Sabha Speaker who refused to step down from his post prior to July 22 trust vote had been expelled by the Communist Party of India-Marxist. Chatterjee outrightly rejected CPI-M demand, saying the office of speaker is non-partisan and stands above politics.

Earlier, admiring Economics Nobel laureate Prof Amartya Sen’s work, Manmohan Singh said, “The policies and principles of our Government, as indeed the intellectual inspiration for the National Common Minimum Programme, are drawn from the world view that Amartya Sen has come to represent so eloquently.”

The PM further said, ‘Amartya Sen has been a passionate advocate of inclusive growth through and the government is just trying to a give concrete shape to those ideas of what I would call ‘growth with a human face’ or ‘growth with social justice’. These ideas and ideals had inspired our national movement, and they continue to inspire those of us who occupy the “center” space in Indian politics, and walk the “Middle Path” on social, political and economic issues.’

Prof. Hirendranath Mukherjee, an exceptionally gifted intellectual and a brilliant orator, served the Lok Sabha for five consecutive terms from 1952 to 1977. The legendary Communist leader had also served in bodies as disparate as the All India Congress Committee (1938-39) and the National Council of the Communist Party of India (1958-68).

“It is not often that one comes across a liberal revolutionary. Some might regard that description an oxymoron. Can a revolutionary be a liberal? But that is precisely what comrade Hiren Mukherjee was,” the Prime Minister said.

“One of the hallmarks of Bengali renaissance was this commitment to liberalism and pluralism,” he added. “We see it in the writings of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, in the essays of Raja Rammohan Roy, in the novels and poetry of Rabindranath Tagore,” PM paid his tribute to the memory of Communist leader Hiren Mukherjee.

Amartya Sen speaks on basic issues

Prof. Amartya Sen in his address stresses on the priorities of the Government to focus on removing the gross and lasting inequalities in the country. According to him, there is an urgency to prioritise basic needs only then justice can be done at large.

He said, "There are, I would argue, similarly momentous manifestations of severe injustice in our own world today in India, such as appalling levels of child under-nourishment (almost unparalleled in the rest of the world), continuing lack of entitlement to basic medical attention of the poorer members of the society and the comprehensive absence of opportunities for basic schooling for a significant proportion of the population.”

“The removal of long-standing deprivations of the disadvantaged people of our country may, in effect, be hampered when the bulk of the social agitation is dominated by new problems that generate immediate and vocal discontent, to the neglect of the gigantic older problems of persistent deprivation of human lives, tolerated without much political protest.”

He said, “Justice demands that we make a strong effort to identity the overwhelming priorities that have to be confronted with total urgency.”

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