Picture this: Two families. One rich, the other poor. For one, the world is their oyster; the other barely owns slug. One has a dining table brimming with delicacies, the other longs for a time’s meal. One’s children studies in sophisticated schools, the other’s don the city in rags.
Though, this unequal distribution in wealth has existed since time immemorial. The gap has widened in the recent times. As we proudly say, “India is the 10th richest nation in the world”; the fact that almost 363 million people still earn less than a decent dollar per day, makes one hang his head in shame.
While according to the New World Wealth’s Report, in India, wealth per capita increased from USD 900 in 2000 to USD 2,800 in 2015; scratch the glossy surface and the picture appears seriously bleak. India is now the 10th richest country in the world, ranked according to total individual wealth. “Total individual wealth” refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals in each country. The downside, however, is India makes it to the top 20 richest list due to its large populations. On a per capita basis, the country is quite poor.
To be clearer, I am not critical of this unequal distribution. No sane man possibly can be. For it depends on one’e own capability. The more skilled you are, the better you do, the more you earn. There lies no denying in that. What I wonder is whether these poor people are given a fair chance to prove their mettle. Are they facilitated with any grounds to attain those ‘skills’ required to excel in life?
Crunched under the inter-generational debts in the vicious nets of moneylenders, sahukars and cooperatives, most poor families find it extremely difficult to manage even a decent living. They earn hand to mouth and the major share of it goes in repaying the interests on the sum they had borrowed. Farmers being the spine of the Indian agriculture and thus the very economy virtually, manage to gather some attention from the blind authorities. Other sections, to my dismay, suffer in silence.
Blaming the market policies for the troubles and pain of the poor, The Forbes Magazine published:
In India, too, a significant number of billionaires made their fortunes in sectors highly dependent on exclusive government contracts and licenses, such as real estate, construction, mining, telecommunications and media. Oxfam cites a 2012 study according to which at least half of India’s billionaire wealth came from such ‘rent-thick’ sectors of the economy. The net worth of India’s billionaires would be enough to eliminate absolute poverty in the country twice over
The tables seem to be turning now. With the current central government aiming a bulls-eye hit on the target of poverty ‘elimination’ and not mere alleviation; hopes have reached an all-time high. Launching various missions to ensure accessibility of basic amenities like health and sanitation (Clean India Mission), Education (Education For All) and the most ambitious “Reurban Mission” which aims to develop 300 Indian villages as urban centres; the government has sailed in the correct direction.
The evidence of proper execution of the plans was given much recently by Union Finance Minister in his budget speech. He appraised the people that out of the 18,000 villages Mr. Modi has promised to electrify within a 1000 days from August 15’2015; a total of Over 5,O00 villages have been electrified under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY).
“The Government’s work should be to listen to the poor, to work for the poor, and live for (the poor)”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first speech in the 16th Lok Sabha. This was just a day after President Pranab Mukherjee said in his address at the joint session of Parliament that “my Government will not be satisfied with mere ‘poverty alleviation’ and commits itself to the goal of ‘poverty elimination’.
What more is to be done is to impart the financial education which as the Reserve Bank correctly acknowledges in the key to poverty elimination. The core plaguing the society of this menace is the dearth of financial education. Give a sum of say, 500 bucks to a poor and a rich man and see the difference. Whilst the poor will think how to spend it, the rich shall go on investing some part of it for making more money. THIS. RICH. MINDSET. IS. WHAT. WE. NEED. TO. DEVELOP AMONG ALL.
There’s still miles to go in this context. Unless the debt-nets holding the poor back are shred and disposed; instilling this mindset is making a hard nut crack.
Meanwhile you read this, below is a short comic compilation detailing a major reason behind such disparity in wealth and opportunities.