Can a country where a third of the population is illiterate be an Information Technology superpower? Can a country where 78 million rural homes have never seen electricity be an economic superpower?
While India’s educated elite are reveling in their new found status on the global stage, inequitable distribution of wealth and opportunities are shaking the very foundation of India’s new economy.
India has one of the fastest widening of social inequalities, where rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer. India is becoming rich land with poor people.
Let me share some of the quivering facts
One-Third of world’s poor is in India. You need only to look out onto the streets, to see the enormous increase in conspicuous consumption by the rich and even the urban upper middle income groups, and also to see side by side how the lives of the poor have become even more vulnerable and precarious.
In the last five years (2004 to 2009) the number of people below the poverty line has increased from 270 million to touch 325 million. That is an increase of 55 million people below the poverty line in five years.
In the last 12 years, India’s economy has grown at an average annual rate of about 7 percent, reducing poverty by 10 percent however about 42 percent of our population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day, most of them without even basic of amenities.
More than one third live on less than a dollar a day, and 80 percent live on less than two dollars a day. Though many of our countrymen were featured in the list of the richest people of the world, we still have more than seventeen million children working as bonded laborers.
India has the higher rates of malnourished children than sub-Saharan Africa, with about 46 percent of Indian children under the age of 3 years suffering from malnutrition.
Undoubtedly, these statistics are not in India’s favor.
The distribution of the benefits of economic expansion tends to be severely unequal. This is for a variety of reasons, in which, of course, the unequal ownership of capital is an important factor. We thus have an odd situation, in which the process of economic development is going ahead at a reasonably fast pace, but where a very large section of the community – indeed, the majority of the community – is not in a position to join in it. A decent society cannot be built on the ruins of hunger, malnutrition, ill health and illiteracy.
The biggest failure in India is social inequality; it takes its toll both directly – in terms of the quality of life – and indirectly – in terms of reducing the economic opportunities that people have.
Let’s come together from all the walks of life and help change such statistics by our noble deeds. Let’s reach out to the underprivileged.
Let’s join hands and raise our voices against malpractice, incompetence, corruption and apathy of most of the administrative systems of our society.
Let’s think beyond the obvious to lend a hand to the poor and needy at the time they need a friend like us.
Lets treat the impoverished with empathy and not sympathy. We all are citizens of India and have equal fundamental duties and rights. Let’s believe and make others believe in the social equality.
And let’s begin by helping our country change those poor statistics.