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Submitted by Prajwol on
I recently found this blog online, and I liked it so far, and I hope to continue reading it. I also look forward to that World Bank’s first South Asia Region flagship report keenly. I am not an economist, but I do have a layman perspective on above three questions. My answers are based primarily on my living experience in those regions and my changing perspective after moving abroad. The biggest issue, for all above questions, is the failure of people to see/think outside the box. The inability to recognize the possibilities and being confined to the status quo by embracing fatalism is one of the biggest hindrances. There are two reasons for this failure: 1) Not having enough exposure to know something else too exists, 2) Dogmatic about any changes. On top of exposure/education, socio-cultural and political issues also have some significance on those two reasons. Changes and development shouldn’t be forced upon; they should evolve from the community itself. The facilitator should never go beyond their role of a catalyst. Besides being sound and sustainable, any scheme for development should bear the ownership stamps of the local community. Without that feeling of ownership, there won’t be any lasting changes. Finding community leaders (not political) among the target community is the best way forward to carry out any schemes. I would not want to change agricultural and labor market, but promote and further enhance them. Somebody somewhere has to be the producers. Occupation of a farmer can not only bring riches, but the occupation itself should be made hip for more people to embrace it. Over the years, there has been significant decline in agriculture in the region, with people choosing to migrate elsewhere for foreign employment. Besides the social conflicts due to separation of families, this has hurt the productivity of the whole nation. The remuneration from workers abroad can help the nation in foreign exchange, and their family back home to build their houses, but beyond the walls of their property, it can do nothing to enhance the community (eg. sewer system, roads, etc). Agriculture and the wise use of natural resources is the biggest investment one can make in these regions for job creation, this should always be the frontrunner along with any other economic schemes. When we talk about development and jobs, we think about education, which is very true. But the problem here is not just education, but an effective education. An education model that promotes technical knowledge along with entrepreneurial skills is a must. Many professionals (doctors, engineers, and scientist) have migrated aboard because they know their subjects and have ability to work in any established venture, but they don’t have any know how on setting up one, or tweaking and diversifying their credentials based on the ground scenarios. The text book education is not always closer to reality.