Even seven decades after Independence, poverty continues to remain a major challenge India grapples with. The country has seen economic progress at various fronts but even today, almost 300 million people in India lie below the poverty line. Poverty has a ripple effect – it leads poor health and nutrition, social insecurity, crime, and lack of jobs. It becomes a hindrance in the overall development of the country.
India’s GDP has been growing by nearly 8% on an yearly basis. Economists hold the view that the Indian economy has to move forward at a rate of 10% per annum for almost a decade so that India can be declared poverty-free. To transform the nation into a well-developed country, it’s important that a few areas are given the most attention. These are not only inter-related, but if addressed effectively, will definitely lead to sustainable prosperity. These areas include agriculture, education, healthcare, infrastructure and science & technology.
Improved infrastructure for an accelerated growth
Bettering the infrastructure, especially in the hinterlands can have wide-ranging effects such as increased earnings and a better standard of living. For example, rural electrification, better road connectivity and other such infrastructure overhauls can not only improve standard of living but also generate employment opportunities. At the same time, they can facilitate day-to-day functioning of schools, hospitals, industries, etc.
Sound healthcare for all
A UNICEF report suggests that one out of every three malnourished children in the world are from India. A similar grave statistic is that as many as 42% of under-5 Indian children are underfed, many of whom are either malnourished or stunted or both. India needs to provide adequate nutrition to its children, or they are the future of the country. How India fares economically in times to come will majorly depend on how healthy its youth is.
More and better employment opportunities
It would not be an exaggeration to say that unemployment and poverty are the two sides of a coin. When employment opportunities in an area increase, the widespread poverty takes a backseat. Generating more and better employment opportunities can be a defining answer to poverty. At the same time, this employment should mainly come outside of sectors like agriculture as the need is to help the rural population not depend solely on agriculture.
Giving children of India their due
It’s the children of present-day India which are the future of tomorrow’s India. Every child deserves a healthier, happier and fairer childhood so that they can go on to become qualified and mature adults and contribute better to the socio-economic progress of the country. Children in India need better healthcare, quality and holistic education, opportunities for participation in the affairs around them and protection from different forms of harms and exploitation.
It will take several more years of rigorous attempts to significantly reduce poverty in India. A horde of effective, strategic and well-implemented measures is required, both by government agencies and by non-governmental organizations. The role of NGOs like Save the Children in combating poverty cannot be undervalued. Advocacy and campaigns by NGOs influence many a Government policy. Their work in support of bringing the needy to Government subsidies and programmes and in improving the implementation of Government programs is of great importance. Save the Children goes right in the middle of the poorest communities to improve their economic status. Not only does the organisation carry out massive work on the ground, but also, they work relentlessly in the development sector in conducting studies, planning and raising awareness.
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