H C Singh

Extent of poverty in India – Causes and Cures

It is known worldwide that, leaving some African countries aside, about 30 percent Indians are below poverty line. Though in the latest census there is marginal improvement but Indian poor, uneducated, living in slums or begging are found everywhere in villages in towns and in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata . On the other hand rich have become richer and even living standard of middle class has improved much more than the decline in poverty or uplifting of poor in villages and cities. That is, in brief, the status of the rich and well to do and conditions of Indians poor, even after almost 65 years of Independence. How can poverty in India be eradicated or reduced significantly? India is one of three or four highly developed Industrial power and one of the most highly developed country in information technology and software development. It is the reason that countries like USA have more technologies from India than they have their own.

About the decline in number, percentage of poor or below poverty line during last 60 years upto 2004-2005, the authentic figure and percentage is as outlined by the Elevant Five year plan 2007-2012 (Documented) has almost double the total number of poor in India remains the same.

‘India is nation of over 300 million poor people, a number that has barely declined over the last three decades ‘ Plan document has very significantly pointed out. All growth benefit the poor, but the appropriate definition of pro poor growth should be that it benefit them disproportionately. It is clear that rapid growth will be essential but for growth to benefit the poor disproportionately, it will have to be accompanied by more rapid employment expansion that hitherto, greater investment in health , education, water sanitation and child nutrition than so far and directly targeted poverty reduction programme.

It will equally interesting and enlightening that in some states poverty reduction is noteworthy, as best as any other country of the world but, at the same time some states of India have lagged far behind in poverty reduction as quoted below.
“Some states have been particularly successful to reducing the head count ratio in 2004-2005. The states with lowest head count ratio of poverty are J & K (5.4%), Punjab (8.4%), Arunachal Pradesh (10%),Haryana(14%), Kerala(15%), Gujarat(16.7%). At the other end of spectrum are Orissa(46.3%), Bihar(41.3%), Madhya Pradesh(38.2%) and Uttar Pradesh(32.8%).

Entire 11th Plan document, is worth going through to acquaint oneself of what is happening to alleniate the poor marginally while rich are becoming much more richer and middle class people of India are doing very well.

It is reported by the Children Health Organization that every year 2 million children are still born world over mostly in poor countries of Africa and developing countries of South East Asia. In developed countries like USA, Britain, France and Russia there is regular health care for women in distress while in poor and underdeveloped countries there is not much health care particularly for poor mothers living in villages and slums in the towns. If the government cares for poor women the number of still born children can be substantially reduced. “Women accounted for 34 % of principal and 89% subsidiary workers in agriculture”.

Government at the centre and the concerned states must pay attention to Tea and Coffee plantations as it is an important sector which gives tea and coffee to Indian citizen but earns lot of foreign exchange. It is known that good quality of tea fetches 5 to 10 times as that, too, in foreign exchange, particular demand for good and splendid quality tea is known to be in good demand in countries like Japan. Government should provide interest relief to tea and coffee growers. Another important sphere which demand government attention is fisheries and fishing policy particularly the marine fishing that provides employment and livelihood to more than a million in coastal states like Kerala. By export of good quality fish government earn substantial foreign exchange .Thus government should take measures and provide stringent measure to develop marine fishing. It should have a special marine fishing policy to so that there is security for fisherman. There have been many incident where fisherman have perished. Government should support their families, compensate for lost fishing boats.

There has been often crises in agriculture and many farmers, particularly in part of Maharashtra commit suicide because of poor crop production. Eleventh Five year plan documents which refer to Agricultural sector as this sector employs nearly 60 percent of our labour force. The growth rate of agricultural sector is perhaps the lowest. It has been around 2% for decades. Government should adopt through another Green Revolution so that growth of GDP in agricultural sector rises to at least 4 % as Industrial GDP in India is between 8% to 10%.

Elevant Five years plan document has touched all aspects of growth in India. But only few aspects have been mentioned above which are crucial for the improvement of life and working condition of poor sectors. If government pays more attention to eradicate or substantial reduce poverty in India it is important not only it should pay attention to industrial sector, which to is important, but to agriculture and fishery sector as well as tea and coffee plantation sectors.

April 22, 2011 Posted by | India, Indian Economy | , | Leave a comment