In India, there is adequate food but everyone do not have access to food. The reality is that food security and poverty go ill-together.
Most of the people affected by natural disasters are poor or the poorest of the poor, who do not have the basic food, during normal times.
India, in the past, was known as the “Golden Bird” ot the Land of plenty, because India was rich in the form of mineral wealth. Steadily and slowly, the repeated invasions of the Mughals, the Arabs, the Mongols, and the Turks, depleted India’s resources. Finally, Britishers made India their colony and depleted all of the wealth that was under our possession.
They made the Rajas, Maharajas and the Nawabs mere puppets by annexing their state treasury. In 1947, when the Britishers left India, and gave independence to us, we had become a poor country.
According to the World Bank report, one person in every four persons living in extreme poverty across the world (numbering 1.6 billion in all) is an Indian. After the independence, the Government launched several programmes to reduce poverty in the country, but all those welfare schemes seem to have failed in their assault. One reason for their failure is that they were executed in only some parts of the country. Most of these schemes were focused on the Green Revolution in Punjab and Haryana, while East and South were ignored. The result was that those in the Northern part of the country prospered while those in the other parts of country suffered a lot because of the shortage of resources. It’s sad to note that even today, in Kalahandi, Orissa; people die beacuse of starvation and the heat wave. As the winter arrives, those who are exposed to the cold wave die.
The poor do not have access to drinking water, sanitation, and are unable to sustain themselves without a job. The children are sent to fend for themselves while the women work as maids in the houses nearby. The poors are exploited even when they open a small shops for business of selling tea, cigarettes, tobacco or snacks. It is often witnessed that the local police and the local goons extort money from them. This is known as protection money or “hafta”. Sometimes, representatives of the municipal corporations visit these areas and destroy their shops, the mode of their sustenance.
The recent budgets, have announced several new schemes to enhance the social sector. The scheme is aimed to provide health care, food, employment, shelter and education to the weaker sections within a decade. The new scheme ‘Antyodaya Annapurna Yajana’, provides food security to the poor citizens. ‘Sarv Shikhsha Abhiyan’, aimed to provide free education to all, has been launched. Gram panchayat would be allocated funds to set up primary health care centres in their respective areas. A scheme called “Samagra Awas Yojana” would be launched to ensure joint provision of drinking water, sanitation and shelter replacing ‘Indra Awas Yojna’. All the self-employment programmes for rural poor people would be integrated into a single programme called “Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojzar Yojana”.
Big and Tall promises and slogans like “Do away with poverty’ or ‘Garibi Hatao” have not taken useen a step towards the desired goal. The politicians today, instead of arguing amongst themselves should find a solution to the problem of poverty. They should comprehend the need for uniform development throughout India. It is due to the uneven distribution of attention and wealth, that India, has not reached to the desirable level of development.
We should understand and undo the mistakes that have been made by our forefathers. It is only that if the poor people are elevated from their level of poverty, that India could be proud of its real independence.
Some other factors that contribute to poverty in India are corrruption, child labor, food insecurity, unemployment, etc. So, to eradicate poverty from India, we must focus on these aspects of poverty in India.