Monday, December 22, 2008

Amartya Sen at the PanIIT Global Conference

Prof. Amartya Sen delivered the concluding remarks at the Pan-IIT Global Conference.

Counselling critics of reservation in Indian institutions like the IITs to take a long-term view of the delicate social issue, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Sunday said the justice component in quotas could not be wished away, as many sections of Indian society had been denied access to education for centuries.

"There are concerns that those who benefit are from the upper layers of the reserved categories," Sen said, replying to a question from the audience after he delivered the valedictory address at the Pan-IIT global meet here. However, he added that issues like merit and efficiency should be seen from the point of view of creating a just and equitable society.

"You have to see what best you can do to meet the demands for justice and efficiency in the delivery of public services," he said, adding that affirmative action was prevalent in many societies. Harvard had a policy of giving extra credits to those from a disadvantaged school, other criteria being equal. Merit should not be discerned from the performance in an institution, but from a person's efficiency over a period of time.


  1. Anonymous said...

    From the Hindu article -
    >The Indian Institutes of >Technology have provided expertise >in technical and corporate >leadership in India, but for the >IIT system to be really >influential, they have to address >the more basic issues of >illiteracy, poverty and >malnourishment, Nobel laureate >Amartya Sen said here on Sunday.

    Though I agree that there may be technological solutions to some of the society's problems which IITs can contribute to; but shouldn't the basic issues of illiteracy, poverty and malnourishments responsibilty/effective functioning of other social welfare agencies/depts. of govt ?
    Why should IITs diversify to handle every other ills...why cannot other institutions be made to be as effective as IITs ?