Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Ponna Wignaraja and Akmal Hussain. The Challenge in South Asia:Development, Democracy and Regional Cooperation. New Delhi: SagePublications. 1989.324 pp.Hardback. Price: Rs 250.00.

Author: A.R. Kemal

The challenge presents a rather interesting analysis of thedevelopment process in South Asia. It argues that conventionaldevelopment strategies have failed to alleviate poverty in South Asia.It suggests that the poverty problem can be resolved only through theparticipatory development approach. The book covers a large number ofissues including sustainable development, poverty, aid-dependence,politics, military intervention, religion, women and development, andregional co-operation. Indeed, the analysis is not limited to justeconomic perspectives; the book also contains sociological, political,and anthropological analysis of the issues. The broad coverage andvaried approaches to the development process make it interesting evenwhen the analysis is superficial, the empirical evidence is outdated,and the proposed solution of the given problem is quite conjectural.Without explicitly stating so, it is assumed that the performance of theSouth Asian economies in terms of per capita incomes has been more thansatisfactory and the poverty problem is just a distribution problem.This is to ignore the fact that the per capita incomes in South Asiahave grown at a rate of only 1.5 percent as compared with the nearly 8percent in Korea and China. Still, the participatory developmentapproach for the alleviation of poverty in the region is stronglyadvocated.

A.R. Kemal

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