girl giving alms to a poor old woman :Even more than 50 years after
independence from almost two centuries of British rule, large scale
poverty remains the most shameful blot on the face of India.
India still has the world’s largest number of poor
people in a single country. Of its nearly 1 billion
inhabitants, an estimated 350-400 million are below the poverty line,
75 per cent of them in the rural areas.More than 40 per cent of the
population is illiterate, with women, tribal and scheduled castes
It would be incorrect to say that all poverty reduction programmes
have failed. The growth of the middle class (which was virtually
non-existent when India became a free nation in August 1947) indicates
that economic prosperity has indeed been very impressive in India,
but the DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH has been very uneven.
The main causes of poverty are illiteracy, a population growth
rate by far exceeding the economic growth rate for the better part
of the past 50 years, protectionist policies pursued since 1947
to 1991 which prevented large amounts of foreign investment in the
Poverty alleviation is expected to make better progress in the
next 50 years than in the past, as a trickle-down effect of the
growing middle class. Increasing stress on education, reservation
of seats in government jobs and the increasing empowerment of women
and the economically weaker sections of society, are also expected
to contribute to the alleviation of poverty.
Eradication of poverty can only be a very long-term goal in India.