Poverty, the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. Poverty is said to exist when people lack the means to satisfy their basic needs. In this context, the identification of poor people first requires a determination of what constitutes basic needs. These may be defined as narrowly as “those necessary for survival” or as broadly as “those reflecting the prevailing standard of living in the community.” The first criterion would cover only those people near the borderline of starvation or death from exposure; the second would extend to people whose nutrition, housing, and clothing, though adequate to preserve life, do not measure up to those of the population as a whole.
Two-thirds of people in India live in poverty: 68.8% of the Indian population lives on less than $2 a day. Over 30% even have less than $1.25 per day available – they are considered extremely poor. This makes the Indian subcontinent one of the poorest countries in the world; women and children, the weakest members of Indian society, suffer most.
India is the second most populous country after China with about 1.2 billion people and isthe seventh largest country in the world with an area of 3,287,000 km². The highly contrasted country has enjoyed growth rates of up to 10% over many years and is one of the largest economies in the world, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of 1,644 billion US dollars. But only a small percentage of the Indian population has benefited from this impressive economic boom so far, as the majority of people in India are still living in abject poverty.
Poverty in India: from the village to the slum
Poverty in india is preventing children from getting an educationMore than 800 million people in India are considered poor. Most of them live in the countryside and keep afloat with odd jobs. The lack of employment which provides a livable wage in rural areas is driving many Indians into rapidly growing metropolitan areas such as Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore or Calcutta. There, most of them expect a life of poverty and despair in the mega-slums, made up of millions of corrugated ironworks, without sufficient drinking water supply, without garbage disposal and in many cases without electricity. The poor hygiene conditions are the cause of diseases such as cholera, typhus and dysentery, in which especially children suffer and die.
Poverty in India impacts children, families and individuals in a variety of different ways through:
High infant mortality
Lack of education
The high infant mortality
1.4 million children die each year in India before their fifth birthday. In addition to Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and China, India is one of the countries with the highest child mortality rates. Pneumonia, malaria and diarrheal diseases as well as chronic malnutrition are the most frequent causes of death.
Malnutrition – not even a bowl of rice a day
India is one of the world’s top countries when it comes to malnutrition: More than 200 million people don’t have sufficient access to food, including 61 million children. 7.8 million infants were found to have a birth weight of less than 2.5 kilograms – alarming figures for a country commonly referred to as the emerging market.
Child labour – no time to play and learn
Although child labour for children under the age of 14 in India is prohibited by law, according to official figures, 12.5 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working. Aid agencies assume that in reality, there are many more estimating that 65 million children between 6 and 14 years do not go to school. Instead, in order to secure survival, it is believed that Indian children contribute to the livelihood of their families; they work in the field, in factories, in quarries, in private households and in prostitution.
Lack of education – no opportunities without education
According to UNICEF, about 25% of children in India have no access to education. The number of children excluded from school is higher among girls than boys. Although women and men are treated equally under Indian law, girls and women, especially in the lower social caste, are considered inferior and are oppressed by their fathers, brothers and husbands. Without education, the chance of finding a living wage from employment in India is virtually hopeless.
Child marriage – the early end of childhood
In spite of banning minors from marrying in 2006, it is still widespread in many regions of India. The main leaders in this practice are young girls, who are still children themselves and become mothers too early. Many of them die at birth. According to an investigation by the medical journal The Lancet, 44.5% of girls are still married in India before they are of legal age.
Due to poverty, many parents encourage early marriages for their daughters in hopes of better lives for them.
There are some measures to reduce poverty in India:
Illiteracy is the biggest reason behind poverty in India. Illiterate people living in rural areas, villages and small towns are the most vulnerable to unemployment. More than 51% of the rural population earns from casual labour. A huge chunk of population works on farms and makes a living. Education is necessary to enhance their farm productivity and overall income. Educated people can also find new jobs, which can help them overcome poverty. Girl child education is also important for the society. Educated girls can grow into skilled workers and get well-paying jobs. Working women can earn and support families, thus giving their kids a better standard of living.
Investment on infrastructure
India’s poverty crisis also arises from the dearth of basic infrastructure like schools, hospitals, toilets, electricity and non-polluting heating options. The government must look to invest in the infrastructure of the country, which can go a long way and help build an environment suitable for enterprise development and income generation.
Today most of the industries seek skilled labourers and workers. The government must introduce new programs for people to learn basic skills that can help them find jobs. Development of vocational and technical skills is also very important to eradicate poverty from the country.
These socio-economic steps must be taken to improve the financial status of millions of households across the country. India’s children suffer the most due to the poverty crisis that continues to affect thousands of small towns and villages. Their future is often compromised due to the lack of basic facilities and infrastructure for education and development. Reputed NGO Save the Children has been working very hard to provide education to the underprivileged children of the country. The NGO has been implementing long-term programs for thousands of Indian children, to help them have a better future. Make a donation today and do your bit for the society. This will not only help the country as a whole, but will also give you a lot of happiness and satisfaction.