India is situation is interesting and plight incomparable. Here are three stats that portray India’s dichotomy:
- Three Indian states – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal – have a combined population of 421 million of “poor” people using the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which measures a range of “deprivations” at household level. This was developed and applied by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative with UNDP support. This number is more than that in the 26 poorest African nations combined (410 million). So, the stark fact is that India has more poor than the entire Sub-Saharan Africa!
- The average income of an Indian citizen is only one third of that of a Chinese person.
- As per Forbes 2012 list of World’s Billionaires, Britain has 36 billionaires and India has 48! (Check the list below) India has more richest of the rich than Britain has!
So let us understand it completely – India has MORE poor than entire Sub Saharan Africa combined AND has 33% more Billionaires than the entire UK – a country which ruled India just 65 years back.
Why is it that we have such stark and painful dichotomy? Why is it that the richest – so rich and so powerful – cannot.. or will not? – make a difference in the lives of the very poor?
It is not just corruption or even infrastructure that is the culprit here, but something more fundamental that is off the base. We have an entire structure of conscience in our society which has apparently collapsed. I will not talk of morality, for that is a “quick-fix” but our humanity.
As the “progress” happens… as the development rockets and stutters and then trots again… as the middle class grows.. and finds swankier places to live and office to work, the poor and the weak are being left behind.
Maoist movement, which had come almost all the way to Delhi’s doorsteps, is a reflection of the reaction by the poorest of the poor. The Government may have pushed them back, but the fire of the poor will remain and keep flaming and one day hit the same Middle Class, which thrives on the Motto of “Here and Now”. A population which is not bothered about time and space more than 100 ft and 100 minutes, such stark dichotomy is but a natural consequence.