Poverty in India
India suffers from a lot of poverty, which means that many people there do not have enough money. 27.5% of the population was living below the poverty line in 2004–2005. Monthly per capita consumption expenditure is below Rs. 356.35 for rural areas and Rs. 538.60 for urban areas. 1 out of every 4 Indians earns less than $0.40 per day. 75% of the poor are in rural areas. Most of them are daily wagers and landless labourers.
A study was done by the McKinsey Global Institute. This study found 54% of the people living in India were living on a household income of less than 90,000 rupees a year. That means about a dollar per person per day.
National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) published a report in 2007. This report state, 77% of Indians (that means 836 million people), lived on less than 20 rupees per day (USD 0.50 nominal, USD 2.0 in PPP). Most of them have no job or social security. They live in abject poverty.
One of the problems with estimating poverty in India is a lack of consistent and reliable numbers. McKinsey study quoted above (46% at $1 a day or above for a household size of 5) is off by a factor compared to 77% under $0.5 a day by NCEUS. To add insult to injury here are some industry numbers that do not fit well with 77% under $0.5 a day.
- The number of cell phones in India was 250 Million  in Jan 2008; about 400 million in mid 2009 and slated to easily cross 500 Million  in 2010 with a current growth rate of over 10 million new cell phones a month. A growth that is clearly not abating. At $20–$200 per cell phone and $0.02-$0.04 a minute rate, it is a luxury that folks earning $1 a day cannot afford after paying for food, housing, and clothes.
- 2001 numbers for basic amenities from census bureau for percentage household reach were bicycles (45%); TV (31%); radio (33%) do not fit well with 77% under $0.5 a day. All these numbers tally well with industry news. Do note this is 2001 census, about 7 years before 77% under $.5 a day was computed. These are amenities households at $1 a day per person cannot afford let alone those with $0.5 a day per person. The country has grown between 7%-9% a year; i.e. almost GDP almost doubled in these 7 years.
Cause[change | edit source]
There are two views on the cause of poverty in India.
- The Developmentalist View: According to this view, India suffers from poverty due to colonial exploitation.
- The Neoliberal View: According to this view, the following are the causes of poverty.
- Unemployment and underemployment
- Lack of property rights
- Dependence on agriculture
- High population growth rate
- Caste system
References[change | edit source]
- Poverty estimates for 2004-05, Planning commission, Government of India, March 2007. Accessed: August 25, 2007
- Nearly 80 pct of India lives on half dollar a day, Reuters, August 10 2007. Accessed: August 15, 2007
- "Report on Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganised Sector"  ], National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector, Government of India, August, 2007. Accessed: August 25, 2007.
- India to oust US in number of cell phone users, MSN, March 26 2008
- Cellphones in India, CBC-Canada, 2009
- India Census Bureau Household Amenities, 2001