Poverty in India
963 million people around the world are living in hunger, 923 million people are malnourished, about 5.6 million children die each year from malnutrition and one-third of the world’s poverty is just in India. India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, that’s why so many wonder why their poverty rate isn’t decreasing faster. The majority of Indians are living off of an average of 2 dollars per day, most living in villages and farm lands live off of less. I will discuss some of the reasons why they are facing such poverty and why so many have trouble succeeding.
There are many reasons why India’s poverty rate is so high. One is because of the rapidly increasing population of India. Just 20 years ago the population was 800,000 million now that number is at over 1.2 billion people. The U.N estimates that 17 million are added to the population each year. With so many already not having enough to eat, that demand for goods continues to rise at an alarming rate. It is very disturbing for me to read that most couples have 3 or more children while knowing that over half of the children in India are malnourished. That can coincide with my next point, that traditions and social factors play a big part in all this. In the book The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen, he stated that “… issues of individual’s rights and liberties have figures in discussions elsewhere as well, not least in the context of emphasizing the importance of the individual’s rights of decision-making..”. The most powerful and progressive countries in the world have managed to keep their tradition but also continue to develop and move forward as a country. India’s caste systems and many of their traditions hinders the progression.
Many agree that India’s class system is one of the main factors that are slowing their decreasing poverty. Scheduled caste is the legal name for the lowest status that an Indian can have. They were known previously as “untouchables”, forbidden to even join religions, social gatherings and condemned to working the most demeaning and harsh jobs. Although throughout the years the government and people such as Mahatma Ghandhi and Dr B.R. Ambedkar have helped make huge improvement in their day to day lives. They both wanted to remove that stigma of being an untouchable, although they had opposing sides of how to go about change. The New York Times recently reported about a young lady named Nirupama Pathak. She had told her parents that she was engaged to a man that was part of a lower caste, soon after she was found dead. A quote was given by Prashant Bhushan stating that, “Her family was trying their level best to prevent her from marrying that boy. The pressure was such that either she was driven to suicide or she was killed.” Her mother was arrested for suspicion of murder, which is just one case of thousands. They call them honor killings. Backwards thinking such as this makes it very hard to succeed. Millions in the lower caste systems find it hard to get a proper education, a majority of them are illiterate. Many are hopeful that the new laws in place will help get the illiteracy rate go higher so that many can find better jobs.
With unemployment rising in India, it is becoming one of the top reasons of poverty in India. One reason why unemployment rising is that an enormous rate of people are leaving villages or rural areas for the cities. So the cities are becoming more and more crowded. The cities cannot accommodate everyone and many are left without jobs and even homeless. Verma explains that “Poverty in India is reducing but is still a major issue. Rural Indians depend on unpredictable agriculture incomes, while urban Indians rely on jobs that are, at best, scarce.” She also explained that there are not enough jobs being created but there are more and more people seeking jobs. Most people leave to go to the city because the agriculture isn’t providing the income it used to. The...
Cited: Navdanya.www.navdanya.org. 2009 Navdanya Trust
Sen, Amartya. The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity. Penguin Books Ltd. 2005
Verma, S.N. Poverty In India. DPS Publishing House. 2011
The World Bank:Working for a World Free of Poverty. www.worldbank.org
Yardley, Jim. Published: July 9, 2010. In India, Castes, Honor and Killings Intertwine.http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/world/asia/10honor.html? pagewanted=all&_r=0
Rural Poverty Portal.The International Fund for Agricultural DevelopmentRural Poverty in India. http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/country/home/tags/india
Vaswani,Navin.11/21/2012.India 's Unforgettable Poverty.The Inside Agenda Blog
PACS Our Rights, Our Voice.TB: A disease of poverty.http://www.empowerpoor.org/backgrounder.asp?report=120
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