Poverty reduction efforts in India
Poverty reduction efforts in India have seen vast improvements in the last decade. Historically, the country has seen poverty across the nation, including lack of education, lack of proper hygiene and low gross domestic product (GDP) compared to its growing population. In the last decade, economic reform and poverty reduction efforts in the southern regions of India have made poverty reduction in the nation a strong force, improving its Multidimensional Poverty (MDP) ranking and doubling India’s GDP.

Vast Improvements in the Southern States

The MDP ranking is “an international measure of acute poverty,” which is based on three measures: health, education and living standards. In the last decade, India has seen its raking increase from 54 of 102 countries to 26, a rather significant jump, which equals approximately a 34 percent decline in poverty. It seems that this decline in poverty was due to the high performance of five southern states: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

These states have an average MDP of nine percent, while India has a national average of 21 percent. The states with the lowest MDP percentage are Kerala, with an MDP of one percent, and Tamil Nadu, with six percent. Interestingly, many states in India are significantly above the national average–for example, Rajasthan (31 percent) and Bihar (43 percent)–but the promising performance in the southern states lowers the national average, showing the positive effects of poverty reduction efforts in India.

How Poverty Reduction Efforts in India Are Helping

One reason for this decline in poverty is an improvement in public facilities. Improvement in public facilities accounts for the improved quality of life and can create spillover into other areas, such as healthcare and education.

Until recently, many areas of India, including many in the southern states listed above, did not have school, health care, a post office or clean drinking water. Many of these problems have begun to be remedied.

Improvements in poverty reduction efforts in India can be seen in different ways across poorer areas of India. For example, in Surguja, most children go to school now and most families have a “job card.” Other regions, such as Uttar Pradesh, have not made nearly as much progress and many other areas are somewhere in between.

Economic Reform in India

Improvements have also been seen in India’s GDP over the last decade, with a near doubling of national income reaching $7.98 trillion. Economic reform in the nation have led to improvements in poverty reduction efforts in India. The vast array of economic reform that has taken hold of India seems to be one of the reasons for this improvement, allowing India to begin to lift its citizens out of poverty.

An example is the Green Revolution. A push for food production within the nation itself first made India reach a self-sufficient food supply, then made the nation a surplus producer of food, allowing it to export food for greater income. Additionally, India became the world’s largest rice producer in 2015.

Another example of economic reform was introducing cell phones to rural areas of India which allowed individuals to be globally connected, facilitating entrepreneurship and migration opportunities for historically cut-off areas of India. According to the CATO Institute, economic reform in India has helped reduce the number of individuals in poverty by 150 million.

While there is definitely still work to do, India seems to be on a progressive path to poverty reduction. Through economic reform measures and improved quality of life, India is giving its citizens a pathway out of poverty.

– Katherine Kirker
Photo: Flickr

economic growth in India
India, one of the most populous countries on Earth (around 1.2 billion people), witnessed rapid 
growth of its GDP over the last two decades, experiencing a surge in economic growth. In fact, income per capita has doubled in 12 years and triggered a solid overall reduction of the poverty rate.

The Central Statistics Organization Findings

According to the Central Statistics Organization (CSO), India’s gross domestic product grew by 6.3 percent, for a yearly rate of 7.1 percent between July and September of 2017; however, corporate earnings are expected to grow by over 20 percent in the financial year of 2017-18.

However, in the prospects of India’s GDP growth, the CSO has also included a slight decrease in the annual rate, which will fall to 6.5 percent in 2017-18. This result is an overall improvement considering that the Indian economy experienced a three-year low rate of 5.7 percent probably due to the implementation of a goods and services tax (GST). 

Positive Outcomes

The general picture, nevertheless, yields incredibly positive outcomes: income tax returns rose 21 percent to 42.1 million in 2016-17, and India gained a position as the third largest startup base in the world with over 4,750 technology startups, 1,400 of which were founded in 2016.

Moreover, the tax collection figures between April-June 2017 show an increase in Net Indirect taxes by 30.8 percent and an increase in Net Direct Taxes by 24.79 percent year-to-year — indicators of steady economic growth in India.

Among the factors that have and continue to contribute to the country’s development, it’s worth noting a few crucial ones i.e. fast-growing population of working age, wage costs and the structure of the legal system.

The presence of 700 million Indians under the age of 35 and steadily growing demographics for the next twenty years demonstrates the increase of the working-age population from 58 percent to 64 percent over the last two decades. Furthermore, many of these people are English speakers which creates a strong legal system and facilitates the attraction of foreign investments, especially from companies specializing in IT outsourcing.

Past and Future Progress

Wage costs are also quite low and the productivity gap between India and other countries has been massively reduced over the last few years. As a result, India’s economy has successfully increased the presence of businesses in the field of technology, an upturn that has created Bangalore as a hub for global software businesses.

This economic growth in India has lent a massive hand towards the reduction of poverty in the country and to the development of living standards of its citizens. While there’s still ongoing debates on what living in poverty means and what threshold we employ to provide an accurate definition of poverty, the number of poor people did in fact drop from more than 400 million in 2005 to 270 million by 2012 — a wonderful omen for today and the future.

While the World Bank still counts many people below the line of global poverty, India’s poverty rate is the lowest among countries with large poor populationS. Overall, the future is bright for this South Asian country! 

– Luca Di Fabio

Photo: Unsplash

Education in IndiaAlthough India has had substantial economic growth in the last ten years, one in five Indians is still poor. In rural areas, one in four lives under the poverty line. Almost half of the poor population cannot read or write, making it difficult for them to boost themselves out of poverty. With these considerations in mind, it is clear that education in India is crucial to reducing the number of the impoverished.

The British Empire controlled India from 1858 until 1947, so British influence can be seen in most sectors of the Indian public sphere. The education system, like many countries that were under British rule at some point, is divided into three major parts: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary education caters to children aged six to 14 and is similar to elementary and middle school in the United States. All Indian children are required to attend primary school and it is free of cost.

Secondary school, similar to American high school, instructs children aged 14 to 18. Secondary school is also free, except at private schools. At secondary school, children learn three languages: their local language, a language of their choice and English. Tertiary school, or higher education, has deep roots in Britain’s system. There are many universities and colleges in India that provide students with many educational tracts.

Public and private education is available in India, but the private schools are often more poorly funded and maintained. India has put more money into educating its children, and the percentage of adolescents without schooling has fallen about 40 percent in the last 40 years. The literacy rate has also increased substantially, even within the last 20 years.

However, education in India is far from where it needs to be. About 50 percent of nine-year-olds in India cannot do simple addition and 50 percent of 10-year-olds are unable to read a simple paragraph. These statistics are due to many factors. Many teachers in India are unqualified and the courses they teach are unable to accommodate the sheer number of students who are now in school. Their salaries are actually quite high due to union strikes, and many do not take their teaching job seriously. Every day, 25 percent of teachers do not show up to school.

There are many steps the country can take to improve education in India. In order to teach the large number of students now attending school, the curriculum must be altered so it is not catering to a small number of students. Teachers who do not show up for their positions must be held accountable by the government.

Female education is also neglected, with over 60 percent of girls dropping out of school. Legislation to support women pursuing education would help revitalize education in India and improve conditions for the impoverished, as educating women is the best way to lift communities out of poverty.

There are many organizations that are working toward improving education in India. Pratham, a nongovernmental organization, works with communities and the government to implement programs that invigorate teachers and students while minimizing costs. Founded in 1995, the organization’s programs have touched the lives of over 600,000 children.

Education for Life, a smaller organization, focuses on educating children in the rural areas of India. It currently has a little over 500 students at a small school in Rajasthan, and its efforts have improved the literacy rates in the area.

VIDYA, another nonprofit, works with the marginalized on an individual basis to empower them in their education. While there are still many ways education in India can be more effective, it is steadily improving thanks to the many nongovernmental organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults.

– Julia McCartney

Photo: Flickr