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Is India Actually Developing?

“I used to think I was poor. Then they told me I wasn’t poor, I was needy. Then they told
me it was self-defeating to think of myself as needy. I was deprived. (Oh not deprived but
rather underprivileged.) Then they told me that underprivileged was overused. I was
disadvantaged. I still don’t have a dime. But I have a great vocabulary.” - Jules Feiffer

Who is developing?-

Sensex has touched the 20,000 mark within a short period of time. The bulls are roaring
on Dalal Street. Traders are celebrating it. The soaring Sensex has become a symbol of
India's growing economy. But what does it indicate — that India is one of the fastest
growing economies in the world? Indeed, everyone should be happy that India is doing
well and receiving huge inflows of foreign exchange. This is becoming the breaking news
of the media and it is shown in such a way that India is developing very fast. All
magazines, newspapers and TV channels are representing this rise with the development
of the country. But there is a point that is Sensex or any other stock market indices should
be taken as criteria of development? If is it so then why people are not smiling all that
much? The truth is that Sensex reaching great heights and high industrial growth has little
meaning for the common man. It is not benefiting the common Indian because when it is
showing up as higher profits for the corporate sector, it translates to higher salaries and
bigger perks for top executives. Thus it is not benefiting the common or poor India. Why
is the rise in Sensex not affecting the fortunes of all? This is because only a few million
people are investing in the equity (shares) of companies. Indians invested only 6.2 per
cent of their total savings in equity-related instruments in 2007 and equity and mutual
funds accounted for only 1.2 per cent of the GDP in 2007.[1] So rising Sensex is
benefiting to only few people that have invested in it. This seems to be the by-product of
the Global Economy, benefiting only the upper classes and elites while the poor get
poorer.

Government policies are also seems to be concentrate on the matters of big industries.
Government also shows indices like Sensex and Nifty as criteria of the progress of the
country. Earlier the slogan of political parties was “poverty eradication” but now days
they talk about Forex, Sensex and economic buoyancy. The government says that
purchasing power capacity of people is increased. But we should not see the purchasing
power of the people who buy luxurious items like car, T.V. etc. We should see the point
that prices of wheat, rice, edible oil and pulses have risen and poor people are not able to
buy this. Prosperous India has not yet provided sufficient social infrastructure to make the
country less brutal for those at the bottom. India is a democratic country. Whether that
democracy is a democracy wherein a small portion of people is being benefited and
where there is poverty, they are not getting benefited?

Government’s point-
According to Gandhiji we want independence for effecting change in the system. I think
that we have not succeeded in that goal. Sensex, Forex, growth rate, saving and
investment are increasing but inequality has also been increasing. Inequality always
creates dissatisfaction. We must think about poorest of the poor people and not about rich
people. Your policy should be guided for poor people. This government is running by
great economists and these led to the situation where common people cannot buy
vegetables. Government shows great affection towards the big industrialists. They
provide them with each and every requirement whether in terms of money, resources or
with land. But both government and private sector are not performing their civil duty.
Charity, civic duty and pressure on both the state and the private sector to sustain anti-
poverty programmes are rare. Our politicians are seriously concerned when their interests
are at stake (the Sensex being one of them) but they hardly care for the millions who go
hungry. Hunger and poverty will not be eliminated as long as they form the basis of vote-
bank politics.[2]

Poverty in India is present from a long time, no matter which government comes to
power. Seat sharing is become the most important work of the parties. Even after 40 years
of garibi hatao campaign launched by Indira Gandhi we are still lagging behind Ethiopia
in hunger eradication. With the economic buoyancy in industrial sector the investment is
increased in this sector. But we need more investment in social sector to increase the
status of poor. In India 26% i.e. 260 million people are below the “official” poverty line.
In comparison to China, they have only 6 million people who can be termed as poor.

Agriculture sector-

India’s most of the population is engaged in the agriculture sector. This sector is also
suffering from many obstacles. Farmer is the biggest producer and farmer is the biggest
consumer. Farmer is getting poorer day-by-day. Farmers are commuting suicides. Till the
farmers do not get right prices for their produce, they will not get benefited directly.
[3]Agriculture, too, needs investment and farmers require credit to remain viable. But
today most farmers remain poor without having adequate access to credit and have to
migrate from farms to towns in search of work, as productivity and output are low and
the size of farms small. Most farmers do not even own the land they are tilling. And the
farmers who have their farms to cultivate are forcing to give their land to Special
Economic Zones (SEZ). India is trying to attract foreign investment to spur its economy
and help develop its largely backward infrastructure. In part, it has chosen to do this by
setting up Special Economic Zones, where companies get tax breaks to open businesses
and factories. But critics say farmers are often forced from their land or cheated of its
value when it is acquired for these projects. On 29th October 2007, 27,000 landless
people were gathered to march to Parliament and to protest against government. "Day-by-
day the Sensex goes up but the common people get nothing from this," said Anil Gupta, a
march organizer, referring to the Bombay Stock Exchange's benchmark index. "People
here are asking only for the basics. There is no greed. They don't want clothes or
electricity, just land so they can feed themselves," he said. ‘’In the recent years of
economic liberalization, the programme of land distribution among the landless has been
badly neglected while hundreds of thousands of acres that belonged to small peasants
have been taken away for industries, mining, dams and others projects. Their already
meager share of the land is diminishing. Non-violent struggle for protecting the land
rights of the poor cannot be delayed any further,’’ said P.V. Rajagopal, the main organizer
of the march and chairman of the internationally-known Ekta Parishad movement. [4]

If multinationals needs land government provide them but if landless want land,
government denied them. All matters of land reforms laws like SEZ come under 9th
schedule. Earlier the rule was that laws under 9th cannot be review by court but now after
the Supreme Court decision that court can interpret the laws come under 9th schedule,
there is a little hope that this discrimination of farmers could be stop. But it is not so easy.
Nandigram issue is an example. Government is giving the land for SEZ that is fertile and
producing. This totally shows the unfriendly nature of the government with the poor
farmers. Indian property laws are unsettled and are not precise and this also helps the
government to acquire the land of poor landowners. And the other factor is red tapping
and corruption that also allows exploiting these farmers. So we cannot just blame big
industrialists. There are so many loopholes present in our system. Farmers are
committing suicides because they are not able to give interest of the loan. There is no
facility of small credit without any security like in Bangladesh where Gramin Bank of
Yunus Khan is giving small credit without any security.

Cause of poverty-

The main cause of poverty in India is unemployment. This is also because of illiteracy.
The poor people cannot afford private school education and the level of government
education is very bad. So we can say that only few can get jobs in the future because of
lack of education and qualification. The poor people also cannot open their own business
because they are not able to get sufficient credit. This is because of lack of education and
lack of sufficient security. The credit only goes to the rich people who have collateral
securities.

Consequences of poverty-

Due to poverty poor people are not able to invest and even save money. Saving and
investing are become only the business of well-to-do people. In real sense, India is
experiencing such situation where economic development is only helpful to the rich and
more secured people. On one hand people are talking about airplanes, latest mobiles,
LCD TVs, five star hotels, abroad education etc. but on the other hand people are
deprived of even basic needs like shelter, food, primary education, proper sanitation, pure
water, permanent jobs, etc. Such contrasts are not sustainable, and this is clearly evident
from the rising protests, incidents of violence, the crime rate, insurgencies and Naxalite
activity.[5]
Separation of classes-

Indians are now divided into three parts- upper class, middle class and lower class. The
upper class i.e. the big businessmen are always trying to attract middle class because they
see them as their market. They do not bother about the poor class. Not only upper class is
responsible for this situation but also middle class is also responsible for this. Middle-
class Indians who feel little obligation to the poor tend to believe that they have made
their contribution simply by becoming middle class. They focus on their own needs
because they have overcome a great deal to get where they are and still fear slipping
back. Moreover, they say, why give to the state when corrupt politicians will just waste
the money? Meanwhile, small charities oriented towards children and women are
sprouting up across the country. But life expectancy at birth across India as a whole—62
for men, 64 for women—is lower than in poor Latin American countries like Guatemala
and Nicaragua, and the poorest rural families eat less rice than they did five years ago.
And no statistic can capture the agonizing sight of a barefoot, ragged four year old doing
somersaults at a traffic light to earn a rupee.[6]

Government launched the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to give employment to


the poorest to the poor. It is launched with the aim of providing 60m people a measure of
financial protection, through guaranteed work and unemployment benefit. But this
scheme is also seems not more than a political tool. Again red tapping, bad governance
and corruption are the obstacles that are likely to come before this scheme.

It is not true that India is not developing that India is not developing but it is not
developing altogether. Some of the Indian states are doing well. In Tamil Nadu, half the
population lived below the poverty line in the mid-1960s, but effective contraception,
female education and primary healthcare led to population stability and a consequent
drop in poverty by the end of the century. But in Bihar, which had the same percentage of
people below the poverty line in the 1960s, the population still grows at a staggering
pace, making anti-poverty measures hard to pursue. Both Assam and Punjab have
histories of political violence and a poor school system, but the latter's infrastructure
allows for a standard of life far ahead of the former.[7]

Conclusion-
It’s not easy to eradicate poverty in a country of having largest number of poor. But
somehow steps have to be taken to come up with this problem. The government should
take some steps with the public involvement. The upper class and middle class have to
realize their civic duty towards poor. I am not talking about the national sharing but
atleast some measures should be taken to make flow of money towards the poor one. It’s
good that the big businessmen are becoming richer but poor should get some benefit out
of this. They should give a better platform to the poor through aiding them by providing
with good education, proper housing, safe drinking water, proper sanitation facility and
more importantly jobs. The banks should take some measures that will allow short period
and small credit without any security to the poor so that they can start their own business.
By only such efforts we can develop in true sense and can say our country as Incredible
India. In the end I want to say that it’s not the gyrating Sensex that will bring our country
prosperity, only the all-over development will bring India into the league of developed
countries.
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[1]
http://www.southasianmedia.net/index_opinion.cfm?category=Economy&country=India

[2] By V. Rajagopal from Tirupati from the review of article Inhumanity Index (26th Oct.,
2007) in Hindu

[3] By Shri Uday Pratap Singh from Synopsis of Debates of Rajya Sabha on March 8,
2007.

[4] http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2007/10/29/1058573-landless-poor-protest-in-
indian-capital

[5]
http://www.southasianmedia.net/index_opinion.cfm?category=Economy&country=India

[6] http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php? (Replies of an article from


Ashish Bhatt, Yasmin Khan and Dhiraj Nayyar)

[7] http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php? ( replies of an article from


Ashish Bhatt, Yasmin Khan and Dhiraj Nayyar)