How to Solve India's Poverty Crisis

Tuesday 17 October 2017

India has shown a stable and well-performing GDP growth rate, and a booming economy that has earned interest from international investors. Despite increasing incomes, and ranking among the fastest growing economies in the world, the country still faces immense poverty.  Wealth distribution is more inequitable than over. Rural India, home to 70% of India’s 1.2 billion population, suffers from high rates of poverty. This crisis needs India immediately bring focussed attention through intervention strategies.

Considering the socio-economic development from various aspects, here are some insights on resolving India’s poverty crisis in a sustainable manner.

Understanding poverty

Across both rural and urban India, India’s poverty magnitude has risen substantially.
i. Rural Poverty: Rural India sees deep rates of poverty. Most rural farmers experience poverty and malnutrition, and invest 80% of their earnings on food items.

ii. Urban Poverty:  A large amount of urban Indians spend a significant food. And, the many migrants who travel to live in cities also must spend on rent.

How India can fight poverty

i. Income generation
Creating opportunities for Income generation is one of the most important strategies to address poverty. According to Nobel Prize winner and Harvard professor Amartya Sen, government investment in poverty aid programs can address poverty. However,  Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia professor and leading trade economist has recommended industry growth as a means to support the rise of the middle class. However, a combination of this  - stimulate growth at scale, in villages with high poverty can be the ideal solution. This can happen by providing wages or salary, while encouraging opportunities for savings and investment that must be implemented.

ii. Education
Addressing Illiteracy is one of the powerful ways to fight poverty. Without literacy, people are vulnerable to unemployment. Almost 51 % of rural families generate their livelihood from casual labour, and 30 % earn from agriculture.

Education is relevant no matter what their line of work. From identifying new techniques to enhance their farm productivity, to find new jobs, education can fight poverty.  A critical component of this strategy is girl child and women education, because it enables women to earn and support their families. Educated mothers are also better decision makers, influencing the overall household priority towards education.

Skill development
The importance of skill development cannot be stated enough. Modern industry has a high demand for skilled and component labours and workers. With a decline in unskilled labours across factories, developing skills for specific trade must be strongly encouraged. Developing technical and vocational skills can be a catalyst to help eradicate poverty from India.

Infrastructure investment
Investment on infrastructure enables access to essentials like medical care, nutrition, transportation, and educational institutions. For rural India, the lack of lack of basic infrastructure, such as latrines and toilets, electricity, affordable schools and healthcare services can all contribute to the welfare of India’s children. infrastructure can make it possible to also create the basis for enterprise and income generation. 

Conclusion

These, and other socioeconomic changes are important for India to attain a long-term growth trajectory. Working on these can address income disparity, and reduce poverty across India.  The poverty crisis has an unexpected victim, India's children, and lack of basic amenities and facilities for education, nutrition, and safety can go a long way in poverty alleviation. Participating in many initiatives that directly and indirectly contribute to poverty alleviation, child rights NGO Save the Children is making a difference. It is doing so by transitioning India's children towards access to these essentials. It is also unifying corporates, partners, and kind-hearted individuals who donate to NGO fundraising, in this noble movement.  Donors will receive a substantial donation tax rebate that can be claimed while filing income tax.