Poverty in India

Since the rock ages, man has been a social animal. He looks for the betterment of the civilization over himself. But as and when centuries passed by Money, Wealth, Happiness, Power have become the curses of the civilization.

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People fight for themselves first. People try to win things that benefit them in the first place. Since the colonial rule in India, there has been an increasing gap between the two sects of society. The Rich and the Poor. This division has been visible and evident over characteristics like religion, politics, region, beliefs etc. The ultimate goal of any economy is the best of the living conditions of the poor. Because that’s the way how governments are formed. They make promises, fail to deliver it 9/10 times. But that’s how the world now, a Mother Teresa or a Nelson Mandela won’t be enough to narrow down this wide crack between the rich and the poor.

Since independence, poverty, deprivation, and gender gap are some of the manifestations in India. The economic liberalization in the early 1990s, the evidence suggests increasing inequality as well as ever-growing poverty. There has been widening over-time inequality in the distribution of consumption expenditure, which is at odds with the impression of more or less unchanging inequality conveyed in some of the literature available on the subject in India. One of the main reasons for this economic gap is the distribution of resources. One of the amazing facts about India is we Indians create a billionaire every two days. We have billionaires who have a good hand-held grip on 82% of the wealth generated during the year 2016. The wealth of this group increased by $762 billion in just 12 months and a survey by Oxfam has calculated that approximately two-thirds of that wealth is the product of inheritance, monopoly, and cronyism.[1] During the period of 2006-2015, an ordinary worker witnesses hi raise increase to 2% while, the rich guys had a 6 times growth in their income. As of today, India’s top 1% of the population holds around 73% of the wealth while 67 crore citizens, comprising the country’s poorest half, saw their wealth rise by just 1%. In comparison to the United States, the richest 1% own 37.3% of total wealth.

The current government led by BJP has given claims that policies like demonetization have made the hidden taxpayers cough out millions of rupees. This means, that more the number of millionaires we have, the higher becomes the taxes collected by the government.[2] There could also be a possibility that such steps and procedures have failed to decrease the concentration of wealth and increased inequality. One of the causes could be the high jump inflation has taken. During inflation, a few of the profit earners gained while most of the daily wage earners lost. Workers in the organized sector get higher wages while the unorganized sector such as agriculture and the small scale industries don’t see a pay rise. Thus the real income- the purchase income falls.

Looking on the constructive side of it, even after decades of economic equality, we do have some steps that could not end the gap but will bridge the gap between the two classes. We have also seen some measures being taken by governments around the world in solving this crisis. Progressive taxation, where high-end corporations and the rich ones would have to pay more to the government in order to redistribute the resources, which means that the rich shell out more and the poor save more of their hard earned money. Investing in the feminine power surprisingly could prove to be of some sort of solution. According to IMF Chief Christine Lagarde, if women’s participation in the workforce matched men’s countries like Japan and India could grow at 9 percent and 27 percent respectively.[3] Increasing the minimum wages showed that higher wages for the lowest-paid workers have the possibility of helping millions of citizens come out of poverty. And it neither affects the employment rate and neither it retards economic growth. Economists suggest in introducing the minimum needs programme where meeting the basic needs of the poor is considered an important part in eliminating economic inequalities. In India, taking the point into consideration we have this kind of programme since he Firth Plan to alleviate poverty and attain higher growth rate. The Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) was initiated in 1978-79 and after that National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) have been implemented as an attempt to bring the poor up. And statistics clearly say that such programmes have helped poverty to decrease, at least to some extent.

Poverty in India has been one of the core issues that deter India to be a real competitor, a global competitor in the world map. No matter how different governments come into power, it’s the responsibility of the executive powers all around the world to distribute money equally. Economic inequality and poverty have been issues not only present in India, but also in countries in the African and the American continents too. Privatization and globalization have not in good terms, but also have affected the purchasing power of the common man. Brands like Armani, Gucci, Nike have become commodities that only the super-rich. People of the middle class or the lower middle class are stuck with products that are not worthy of buying, but again such products are required for the evidence of the ‘Social Status’ of the people. So I would end this article stating the fact that money is important for the livelihood of individuals but it is the right of every responsible citizen to earn the equivalent money and resource to the amount of the hard work he puts in.

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