The fifth triennial report of the SAAPE, South Asia and the Future of Pro-People Development: the Centrality of Social Justice and Equality, was launched at a programme held in Assam, India on 29 April 2017 and organised by Gauhati University, Guwahati, Brahmaputra Institute of Research and Development (BIRD) & SAAPE. The Honourable Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University, Dr Mridul Hazarika released the report. SAAPE Core Committee member, Sushovan Dhar highlighted major issues on which the report is focused. The head of the Department of Political Science, Gauhati University, Prof Nani Gopal Mahanta shared his quick impression on the report and rooms for improvement for the next editions. Dr Jayadeep Baurah, Principal Coordinator and Lead Author of Assam Human Development Report 2014 provided his suggestions and feedback on the report as a discussant. Prof Akhil Ranjan Dutta, Department of Political Science, Gauhati University chaired the session while Netra Timsina, Regional Coordinator of SAAPE welcomed all the participants and introduced SAAPE in details. Dr Joanna Mahjebeen from the Department of Political Science, Gauhati University coordinated the session.
The launching of the report was followed by a public lecture on Agrarian Crisis and Food Insecurity in India by the eminent journalist and agrarian economist from India, Devinder Sharma. The public lecture session was chaired by Prof Srinath Baruah, former Vice Chancellor of KK Handiqui State Open University, Guwahati. Mr Sharma explained how agriculture is being deliberately marginalised, and how farmers are being denied their legitimate income. He also highlighted the basic intention of the government to drive farmers out of agriculture since the mainstream economic thinking is to move a large proportion of farming community into the cities.
In the afternoon, a panel discussion on ‘Development, Environment and Democracy in South Asia: People’s Experiences’ was organised. The panel discussion was chaired by Devinder Sharma while Gautam Roy, Research Scholar, Gauhati University moderated the session. In the discussion, Sabrina Iqbal Sircar, Cotton State University, Guwahati presented her paper on ‘Minorities, Fundamentalism and Democracy in South Asia. Abhinandan Saikia, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati shared his thoughts on ‘Sustainable Livelihood and People’s Security. Similarly, Pahi Saikia from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati shared her recent work on ‘Border Communities in South Asia. Prof Arupjyoti Saikia from IIT Guwahati shared his piece on the environmental history of the Brahmaputra River. Saswati Choudhury from OKD Institute of Social Change and Development shared her thoughts on ‘Environment and Sustenance: Understanding the Lives of the Poor. Interactions between speakers and participants enriched the discussion. More than 150 participants representing academia, social movements and civil society attend the programme.
This was a milestone for SAAPE to have its first programme in the North East India.
SAAPE Poverty Report 2016 can be downloaded from this link: http://saape.org/index.php/publications/saape-publications/saape-poverty-reports?download=76:saape-poverty-report-2016