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Enough resources for development, lack of funds just an excuse: Aruna Sharma

There can be no sustainable development and lasting peace in a society which has a widening gap between the rich and the poor, author Aruna Sharma has said.

The retired IAS officer in her book "You @ Game Changer for Inclusive Growth" lists a litany of challenges that hamper sustainable growth and development in villages, smaller towns and urban slums in India.

Sharma, who retired last year as Secretary Steel, argues that the "paucity of funds", which is quite often cited as a reason for poor development, is merely an "excuse" offered by the public representatives for failing to deliver the goods.

"There are enough financial resources available. Each district gets around Rs 1,200 crore annually under various government schemes. There is no reason why you cannot plan or target big infrastructure," she told PTI.

"Many a time the intent is there, but there is no awareness about these resources," Sharma said.

The book not only offers an insight into the available money for infrastructure and social security, but also informs the public representatives how it can be tapped to facilitate development.

Written in a lucid style, the slim volume is aimed at aiding the elected representatives (MPs and MLAs) in transforming infrastructure of their constituencies and enhancing livelihood opportunities for their electorate.

It also lists responsibilities of the communities towards achieving the goal of sustainable development.

Sharma notes that poor management and monitoring as well as a lack awareness are the real impediments to progress.

"Poor management and monitoring are squarely the reason. The unutilised funds represent a lost opportunity," she said.

"It could well be a matter of life and death for some individuals denied the benefits just because of a management failure," she writes.

Sharma asserts that there can be no sustainable development and no lasting peace and security if the gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening.

"From the competing demands of a development agenda, every government's first responsibility is to enhance the quality of lives of the poorest citizens," she writes.

The 142-page book has come at a time when the general election has just got over and the newly-elected Members of Parliament are set to take charge.

In the first back-to-back majority for a single party in over three decades, the Bharatiya Janata Party won 303 out of the total 542 Lok Sabha seats, handing out a crushing defeat to the Congress Party and many other political opponents.