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Poverty in India

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Pollution is an issue of concern in the modern world that we live in today. There are many types of pollution, namely air, water and noise. Pollution in our environment will undoubtedly affect our quality of life. Our naturally beautiful world becoming ugly because it is suffering from the effects of environmental pollution. Pollution can also cause various health problems and other negative effects.

Air pollution is caused by the emission of toxic gases from vehicles, factories and open burning. Nowadays, there are more and more vehicles on the road as society gets more affluent. More and more people strive to have a better quality of life by having the convenience of driving to their destinations instead of taking public transportation. Automobiles provides transport to millions people around the world to enable them to travel to their workplace, school and other places, therefore, the air around us is getting more polluted by the carbon dioxide that is emitted. Carbon monoxide is another type of gas which harmful to the environment as it can cause the reduction of oxygen in the bloodstream.

Another example of contributor to the air pollution is the manufacturing factories. The manufacturing of products in factories to meet the growing demand of society is also causing air pollution. Factories release toxic gases to the environment. Some factories also use coal to generate heat and energy. As a result from the burning of coal, carbon dioxide is released into the environment.

Besides factories, many people are still practising open burning as a way of disposing their household wastes. Although burning our household wastes is a convenient way of getting rid of our rubbish, it is harmful to the environment as it contributes to the worsening of the air quality. As a result, air pollution causes people to suffer from health problems such as chest pain and asthma. In extreme cases, people can contract lung cancer.

Water pollution is also a problem that we are currently facing. The marine life is the first to suffer from water pollution as they depend on the nutrients in the water to survive. As a result, we are robbed of beautiful sea corals and unique species of fishes. Besides ruining our marine heritage, the disappearance of marine life will affect the livelihood of fishermen, not to mention our source of food. Water pollution is caused by harmful waster from industries, farms and sewerage systems which are dumped into our sources of water such as rivers and lakes. This irresponsible act contaminates our drinking water and can cause serious health problems and can even culminate in death.

Noise pollution is another form of pollution. Noise from heavy machinery and vehicles can cause hearing problems and in extreme cases, deafness. As there is growing number of vehicles on the road, we are exposed to noise pollution every day. The government in advanced countries encourage their citizens to take the public buses and trains by providing an affordable and efficient transportation system. This effort discourages people from driving their private vehicles and consequently reduces the number of vehicles on the road.

We must work together to reduce pollution so that the future generations can live in a healthy, unpolluted environment. As the saying goes, precaution is better than cure. Lets hands on hands together by recycle and consePoverty is one of the major problems in India. It is the root cause of many socio-economic problems including population explosion, unemployment, and child labour and rising graph of crimes. Poverty alleviation should be the main target of the nation so as to make it a prosperous and developed country. Thus, poverty elimination is a matter of fundamental importance. Poverty implies a condition in which a person finds him unable to maintain a living standard adequate for his physical and mental efficiency.

He even fails to meet his basic requirements. Poverty is in fact a relative concept. It is very difficult to draw a demarcation line between affluence and poverty. According to Adam Smith, “Man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, the conveniences and the amusements of human life.” The pathos of Indian story is that 220-230 million of Indian population, which constitutes 22 per cent of the total population, is poor, as per the findings of the National Sample Survey Organisation. This makes India home to the world’s largest proportion of the poor, even if the percentage of the people living below poverty line reduced from 36 per cent in 1993-194 to 22 per cent in 2004-05. The problem of poverty is acute in villages. More than 75 per cent people live in villages. Even prevalence of poverty is not uniform all across India.

The poverty level is below 10 per cent in states like Delhi, Goa, Punjab, etc. while it is nearly 50 per cent in socio-economically backward states like Bihar and Orissa. The percentage of poverty fluctuates between 30 to 40 in north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, and in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. There are other dismal facts about poverty in this 4th largest economy of the world on GDP at Purchasing Power Parity: it ranks 126th out of 177 countries listed in the World Human Development Index and the rate of child malnutrition double than that of sub-Saharan Africa. The most recent World Bank estimates for India are based on household surveys carried out in 1999-2000. It was found that almost 80 per cent of India’s population was surviving on less than $2.15 a day (in PPP terms), i.e. is about 800 million $1.40 a day or less and nearly 35 per cent were found to be living on $1.20 a day or less.

With such factual and visible evidence enforcing existing bias, the defining element of our economy would remain identified with poor millions. Rather than getting drowned into swirling oceans of data we need to look into the factors which lead to poverty. Since India is predominantly an agricultural country, it is the largest source of employment. More than three-fourths of their populations depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Agriculture here is dependent on monsoon. Sometimes due to uncertainty and irregularity of monsoon, agriculture collapses. Foodgrains production declines. Often there is drought. All these adversely affect the income generation prospect. These combine to result in poverty.

People do not have other means of livelihood; they are left with no other option except to starve. Illiteracy constitutes a major cause of poverty. It is really very distressing that after more than 60 years of independence, about one-fourth of our population do not know how to read and write. Illiteracy is one of the constraints which deprive one from opportunities to seek other forms of livelihood. It in fact forces people to stick to ancestoral jobs and prevents them from having job flexibility. Besides, caste system also puts constraints in the access to lucrative jobs to a vast majority of the people. Though constitutionally such institutions have been dismantled, their presence can still be seen in rural areas. Furthermore, there has been increase in unemployment adding to the woes of poverty. Growing population is a great contributor to poverty.

The average size of Indian family is relatively bigger, consisting of 4.2 members. All these factors make a vicious cycle of poverty and aggravate the problems related to poverty. Poverty is a great pollutant. It is marked by an apathy that erodes self-esteem and any willingness to live life to the fullest. It is also an important factor in the creation of paradoxical situation, the lack of purchasing power amidst plentiful availability of food causing starvation deaths. Poverty makes education, balanced diet, health care facilities, etc. inaccessible. Obviously, all these deprivations immensely affect the personality development of a person, thus creating wide gaps between haves and have-nots. The dimensions of poverty have been changing from time- to-time and place-to-place. There are two inter-related aspects of poverty-urban and rural.

The main causes of urban poverty are predominantly due to impoverishment of rural peasantry that forces them to migrate to big cities to find livelihood. In this process they lose even the open space or habitat they had in villages, albeit without food and other basic amenities. In the cities, though they get food but other sanitary facilities including clean water supply still elude them. They are compelled to live in sub-human conditions. There is really a very paradoxical situation, when wealth and prosperity is concentrated in a few homes while millions have to go to bed without food. A select few enjoy the standards of living comparable to the richest in the world while the majority fails to meet both their ends. It cannot be said that attempts have not been made by the government. Since 1970s poverty alleviation became the priority in government’s development planning.

Policies have been framed with prime focus on improving standard of living of the people by ensuring them food security, promoting self- employment through greater access to assets, increasing wage employment and improving access to basic social services. It is with this aim that Public Distribution System was launched in 1965 to provide foodgrains to the poor at subsidised rates. The Government of India launched the Integrated Rural Development Programme, the largest credit-based government poverty reduction programme in 1979 to provide rural households below the poverty line with credit to purchase income-generating assets. The beneficiaries include small and marginalised farmers, agricultural labourers, rural artisans, the physically handicapped, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

Within the targeted population, 40 per cent of the beneficiaries are supposed to be women. Significantly, the programme has been successful enough to increase the income of 57 per cent of assisted families. Unemployment and low-productivity have been significant causes of rural poverty. It is to address the problem that a national public work scheme, the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana was launched in 1989 to provide unemployment at the statutory minimum wage for unskilled manual labour, besides low-cost housing and to supply free irrigation well to poor and marginalised farmers. The programme has had a significant impact on poverty reduction. Besides, a number of other programmes for poverty alleviation are being carried on by government-Central and State. As a consequence of attempts made by government, poverty showed a sharp decline in 1980s.

This decline in poverty, to some extent, is also attributed to agriculture development of 1970s and 1980s resulting from the Green Revolutions. However, much more needs to be done, for India is the home to the largest poor population in the world. Basic necessities of life such as drinking water, health care facilities, etc. are still inaccessible to majority of population. In this regard community participation and awareness campaign can make a difference. The media and the NGOs, besides other institutions have crucial role to play. The machinery involved in poverty alleviation need to be accountable, sensitised and sincere. New laws have to be evolved to ensure more accountability. The lack of transparency and accountability has hampered our economic development at all levels. A system of incentives and disincentives can also be of great importance. Thus, the situation is bound to change and society will be free from deprivation. rve the world for the better future.

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