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Amartya Sen for quota in IITs

india Updated: Dec 21, 2008 17:12 IST

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Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen on Sunday supported reservation during admission into Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) for the under privileged sections as the step would benefit the society in the long run.

Addressing the plenary session at PanIIT 2008, a conference of IIT alumni here, he said: "In Sanskrit, there are many words equivalent to justice. The two important words are 'nidhi' and 'nyaya'. The former is about institutions and their rules of behaviour while the later is about realisation of the benefits."

"People who are benefited from affirmative action tend to contribute more for the poorer sections of the society," he said.

According to Sen, the economic slowdown will have its impact on the government spending on social sectors like education, health and others and it is important to protect public income.

"India has high proportion of malnourished children and illiteracy rate is high," he added.

He said famines do not occur in functioning democracies as also in places where the media is free and the opposition is strong.

"But in India, there is a huge population that is malnourished," he noted.

He said many of the serious concerns of poor like hunger, education and healthcare do not get the attention of the media and are crowded out by other issues.