Wednesday , 17 October 2018
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Poverty Holds India Back

VINOD C DIXIT, AHMEDABAD

THIS is with reference to the article ‘India seeing the back of extreme poverty’ by Ajit Ranade (NT, July 10, 2018). The population explosion is obstructing our war on poverty, which has been a focus   area for Indian governments since the Independence. Higher overhead costs in retaining older workers, wages that rise with length of service, higher separation and pension payments have also contributed to a steady contraction of employment prospects. Moreover illiteracy reinforces poverty: it is necessary to see illiteracy as part of the complex of deprivations and discriminations which has come to be termed as “the culture of poverty”. We think of poverty as being the deprivation of what are called “wage goods – food, clothing and housing”. Poverty is hereditary, being passed from one generation to the next, and has become multidimensional.  It is painful to note   that our country is one of the largest producers of foodgrains, and still a land with a large population of the malnourished.  In reality, the right to food should go beyond restraints such as topography and region. The implementation of the National Food Security Act should not be restricted to a particular group or section. To ensure food for all, the act should have provisions to protect agricultural land, minimising post-harvest wastage caused by pests and vagaries of nature. It is shocking that on average 10 million tonnes of foodgrains are wasted, mainly on account of poor storage. The distance between the poorest and those just below the poverty line will depend on where we draw the line. The more serious concern for us is the extent to which the poorest benefit from anti-poverty measures. Poverty is a contributing factor to IDA (Iron-deficiency anaemia) because families living at or below the poverty level may not be getting enough iron-rich food. Time has now come for the young men and women of India to play a positive role in promoting growth and banishing poverty from our land.

 

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