Poverty in India
‘God created humanity but we created differences.’
India, growing at a rate of 6.7% in the last year, after taking into consideration the effects of demonetization and GST, has the largest number of people living in poverty, as quoted by the World Bank in its annual report. Hence, we can say GDP figures are not the sole indicator of a country’s economic development. Poverty plays a major role.
India, the 7th largest and 2nd most populous country, has 30% people living below poverty line in an estimated 1.35 billion population. What needs to be said, checked and compared is the growing number of below poverty line (BPL) people along with the GDP growth.
‘Today, there’s much fruit in a rich man’s shampoo than in the poor man’s plate.’ The lacuna between the rich and the poor is an all-time high. A meager amount of 32 per day for the rural and 47 per day for the urban is justified? Is it fine to leave the backward sections of the society to remain backward? It is ok to be biased against the minorities, like Dalits, who are not even considered at par with humans? No, that’s a huge shame on humanity. The holistic development of a country is based on taking the minority sections into consideration, which can help boost India into one of the fastest growing economies.
A few Government schemes have helped to mitigate poverty to some levels and their contribution to the national cause cannot be underestimated.
- PDS – The public distribution system provides subsided food grains and non-food items to the poor. The main food grains include wheat, rice, sugar and a few more. Each household below the poverty line is entitled to receive 35kgs of ration and the families above the poverty line to 15kgs, each month which is linked to their ration card. Although this scheme sounds good in theory, its implementation is a major problem for the government, with all the leakages and the grain diversions at various levels. An approximate of 41% amount of food grains reach the poor due to this hierarchical corruption.
- MNERGA – The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act aims to provide livelihood and employment, by ensuring a minimum wage for 100 days in a financial year to the weaker sections of the society, whoever opts to do the unskilled manual labor. In the 2017 budget, 48000 crores, the highest ever amount was allocated for this scheme and the number of employees has risen under this scheme.
- PMFBY – Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, is a new crop insurance scheme to boost farming sector in the country. It is farmers’ welfare scheme that aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers and ensure early settlement of crop assurance claim for the full insured sum. Farmers will pay a uniform premium of 2 percent for all Kharif crops, 1.5 percent for all Rabi crops and 5% for horticultural and commercial crops. The Government will pay balance premium to provide the full insured amount to the farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities.
These schemes and many more are steps are being taken the right direction to bring about a new social change, which will take some time to see to the upliftment of the poverty-stricken people and give them a new chance at life.