How can the standard of people below the poverty line be raised? (a) By giving them best education (b) Giving them reservation in education & jobs (c) Or anything else
Before discussing ways to improve the standards of people below poverty line let us first discuss who are the most impoverished people in our country. Though our country has been showing great progressive numbers but Labourers (farm workers in villages, casual workers in cities), tribespeople, Dalits (low caste untouchables) and Muslims remain the poorest Indians. Almost 60% of the poor continue to reside in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Significantly, 85% of India’s tribespeople and Dalits live in these states.
Both options A and B are correct but some extra points might help in their upliftment are:
- First and foremost are education and healthcare. Take any developed country and study its path to development. All the successful countries invested heavily, with good infrastructure and management, for the improvement of education status and healthcare facilities for everyone. The top economists of the world have also argued that we have been underinvesting in these two areas which is not a good sign for our sustainable development.
- Upliftment and government’s financial assistance go hand in hand. Till the time they do not become a part of lower middle class section of the society, the government should not stop the benefits they receive as soon as they cross the BPL threshold (Rs. 2250 per month).
- Instead of loan waivers for the poor farmers, the government should give them cash. It’s not that the farmers have cash and they refuse to repay the loans. Providing them with loan waivers just pulls them out of the debt trap to some extent. But the lack of cash forces them to take new loans and the cycle starts again.
- We have failed miserably in bringing the tribals to the mainstream. They need a different type of education. One which apart from giving them useful worldly knowledge, preserves their culture.
- Poor enforcement of laws designed to protect Dalits. This should be taken seriously as the atrocities against the Dalits hasn’t stopped even after 71 years of Independence. It breaks the Dalits mentally, emotionally and at times physically. One cannot think of the improvement of this country by isolating 160 million people from society.
- Reservation under SC and ST quota is enjoyed only by the Hindus/Sikhs/Buddhists. This should also be extended to the economically backward families of other religious minorities too.
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Though we have grown in numbers but we have failed to remove income disparity, we land up high in GDP growth but perform very poorly on HDI and Happiness Index. This all due to our non-sustainable methods of growth. If we want to grow by real measures, we need to take care, that no one is left behind. For that, both the parties should take one foot at a time towards each other and meet at the halfway towards a prosperous India.
Image by Varun Kulkarni from Pixabay
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