KATHMANDU, May 26: Economist Swarnim Wagle on Wednesday said the government needs to connect social protection to poverty, vulnerability and inequality in the new poverty discourse created in the aftermath of COVID-19 impacts.
Speaking at a book launch program, Wagle, a former vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission, said gaining higher levels of economic growth alone will not be sufficient for poverty alleviation. “There is no evidence globally that a country achieves notable poverty mitigation unless sustainable economic growth is achieved,” he said.
Wagle stressed the need for revising the inequality measuring tools like Gini Coefficient to address the new dimension of poverty. To link employment generation to the market, to increase access to the financial services through promotion of information technology, to implement separate public policies and budgetary allocation regarding the different dimensions of poverty and to ensure direct cash transfer to needy people framed under social protection are among the priority measures of Wagle to solve the increased poverty in the post COVID period.
According to Wagle, workers of informal sectors were among the hard hit by the pandemic. “Redistribution and contribution based social insurance can be the main aspects of new social protection architecture,” he said.
The book entitled ‘Poverty in Nepal: Diagnosis and Treatment’ written by Bidhya Nath Nepal has underlined the root causes of existing poverty in Nepal. These involve the myths about the existing poverty, flaws in the education system and ineffective government policies, among others.
Nepal served as secretary in various ministries of the government in the past. He had spent over four decades in the country’s civil service.
Commenting on the book, Wagle said poverty can be made a history if proper measures are taken to address inequality and vulnerability.