India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, with the majority of the population being termed as young and a steadily rising GDP which has contributed to economic development lately. Due to the reasons mentioned earlier, poverty in India has witnessed a decline in the poverty ratio, with almost around 44 Indian citizens escaping poverty every minute. Though India has seen significant improvement when it comes to the issue of poverty, it is far from being eradicated. Almost 73 million Indians live in poverty, which accounts for about 5 percent of its population, and this being extreme poverty. This does portray very worrisome imagery about the living conditions of the poor within the country.
Initially, the World Bank proposed the poverty barrier as $3.10 per day, with the advent of worsening conditions it had been revised to $1.90 according to the 2011-2012 acts. However, money is not the only criterion when it comes to measuring poverty, other factors such as quality of life which are determined by factors such as life expectancy, infant mortality rates, literacy, and the number of children who have enrolled for primary and secondary education. A reliable indicator would be the dropout rates of children across various age groups.
Different perspectives and views are adopted while trying to quantify poverty in India. As a result, the interpretation has been varied across different measuring standards. Some studies have stated that around 22 percent of India’s population lives beneath the official poverty line. The history of poverty in India can be traced back to the period of British colonial rule, where exploitation of resources by the imperial state led to a decline in the standard of living for natives. However, the scenario did not improve after independence; the nation was ravaged by famine and death.
India has come a long way since then, improving the standard of living and improving the economic scenario; however, survival is still precarious for those struggling to survive above the poverty line. According to the World Bank, India accounted for most of the global poverty scene during the years of 2011-12. Economic realities vary from nation to nation and are not often well represented by the generic poverty measuring tool. The social framework of India usually exists in large households with the elderly often occupying a position of significance. Also the poor in India generally do not face expenses like rent which is almost nonexistent in the rural areas. And a more significant proportion of monthly income is often used on food to support the family.
The government has introduced its fair share of schemes and subsidiaries to help those struggling beneath the poverty line; however, it is still not enough to instill a vast difference in the quality of life. In a country teeming with people employment opportunities are scarce and sustaining a livelihood becomes more of a struggle. Will India’s poor always remain so? That is the question to be set for another day and can probably be answered by proper economic reforms and policies.