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Poverty: are we being blind to the real problems?

While the time we are afraid of stepping out of our homes, people are wandering the streets searching for a pile to eat. We, living the most possible comfortable life in the pandemic yet we feel like prisoners; and there are people out there who don’t have shelter over their heads amid the pandemic. We all do know about the challenges faced by the unprivileged section just for surviving, but the problem is most of us don’t want to talk about poverty.

So, let’s talk, about half a year of the coronavirus-triggered pandemic struck the world. 6 months down the line, how the impoverished section is dealing with it?

Poverty and Pandemic

Is it right to say, poverty is a pandemic?

Poverty, whose ways of eradication fuel political rallies in India, every political leader’s promise of the complete annihilation of poverty, was never kept. In every tenure, every leader pledges to citizens that, by the end of their tenure India would be a better place for the unprivileged section, which never happened.

The most populous democracy in the world but yet two-thirds of the people in the country hover in poverty, SOS Children’s Village Canada. Poverty exists in every country, there are poor in every part of the world; But what are the services provided to them, tell what really the government there is doing for them.

No doubt India has done some growth in helping its poor to lift above poverty. According to the United Nations in India in the period between 1994 to 2012; the percentage of people below the poverty line has reduced, from 45% then to 22% now. In that period approximately 133 million fellow Indians have been pulled out of poverty.

But despite all the progress made in decades, the poor are getting more poverty-stricken. The condition can be assumed by the fact that; India’s richest 1% are four-time more wealthy than the bottom 70% population of the country. From 2006 to 2015, ordinary and low-wage workers have seen a hike of 2% in their income; while the millionaires grew by six times.

The income gap between the rich and the poor in India is deeper than ever before. The global pandemic is making the situation already awful worse.

Is India a poor country?

India is the 5th largest economy in the world and the 3rd largest as per PPA (purchasing power parity). But outlandishly for the same things but per capita, India’s rank is 139 by GDP and 118th in PPA, 2018.

India is home to 1.3 billion people with a breakneck growth rate of 7.3%; it is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It is estimated that India will have a larger economy than the U.S. in 2050. By 2075 it is likely to bypass China, hence becoming the largest economy in the world. Every year several Indian billionaires are added to the list of richest people in the world.

The other figure in which India is just bypassing China is population. India is very near to becoming the most populous country on the planet. It is likely to pass 1.7 billion by 2070; by then the earth is estimated to be home to 10 billion people. That is 2 out of 10 of all the humans living on earth would be Indian.

India will soon become a superpower in terms of population, but the country’s inequalities are a huge risk. 25% of the poor in the world are in India. The country is wealthy yet impoverished.

Why is there Poverty in India?

No one can deny that India is a rich country, with a GDP of 2.4 trillion dollars which is more than that of Great Britain and France. The problem with India is that its wealth is not evenly distributed.

One out of five individuals in the country earns less than $2 per day. 80% of India’s poor live in rural areas where the source of income can be counted on fingers. For these people, the main source of income is agriculture, that too by cultivating the lands of their landlords.

Most of the poor people in the country don’t have access to proper education. And that little fraction which does have access to that can not get it of good quality. The government educational institutes provide free-of-cost education till the primary level, but most such students leave the school in middle to earn for living. Therefore expounding their hope of escaping poverty for most of the part.

The biggest hurdle laying between the government and the poor in India is corruption; the government provides facilities to the poor, but the money and facilities do not reach them. In every financial bill, every government comes up with new schemes to help the poor lift from poverty; but the corrupted system of India eats up the money before reaching the hand of the needy.

Be left holding the bag

Poverty is the reality that most people do know exists, but don’t want to see. After all, we all are human, we all have a heart, and we feel disconsolate whenever we confront the reality of extreme poverty. Therefore we try to escape from the truth by blinding ourselves. We don’t want to see the melancholy of the poor, so we confine ourselves to our fantasy world, assuming that every person is living a comfortable life like we are.

Every government in their tenure tries to battle poverty, they try to eradicate it; which leader does not want their nation to flourish after all? Most of us try to help the poor, and we raise funds for them, but in the end, the poor still die starving. The problem is not in the decision, but in the way, they are implemented.

The government should try to fight the battle in the most fruitful way. Invest more in quality education and provide them with jobs, which can actually benefit them, not the corrupted system.

With Panglossian hope, that one-day extreme poverty would really be eradicated, let’s confront it; Poverty does exist and people out there are suffering and dying because of it, but this dark reality can be changed. People would live a better life, than what they are living today, but we have to help them, by educating them, by telling them about what all facilities are there for them. The dire state of poverty in India and all over the world would change, but we’ll have to become that change.

Be the change you want to see in the world” by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi