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While poverty persists, there’s no true freedom.

Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.                             

Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa.

Today, as we see in our country, poverty has taken a downturn. There are about 363 million people facing multidimensional poverty. Also, looking upon the data provided, about 5% of them are living under extreme poverty. Now, to bring an end to poverty once and for all, we need to have a holistic approach and work towards improving access to sustainable livelihoods, educating people, progressively developing social protection systems to support those who cannot support themselves. If we see the current scenario many people still lack basic necessities like food, shelter and cloth.

But, what is this Poverty anyway? Poverty has been defined in many ways. However, poverty is a state wherein a person is not privileged enough to afford the basic necessities of life, that is, where he is not bestowed with enough food to survive, shelter to live and clothes to wear. Hundreds of people die because of poverty and negligence of people towards it. Rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and if the situation continues to persist, we would fail as a nation even if we succeed in becoming the world’s largest and fastest-growing economy, and still have a major chunk of our population under poverty. Growing population, unemployment, lack of education and the lack of resources are the major contributing factors of poverty in our country.  To develop a poverty reduction plan, to enhance the economic growth, we need to take some priority actions on poverty eradication, like –

  • improving access to sustainable livelihoods, entrepreneurial opportunities and productive resources;
  • providing universal access to basic social services;
  • progressively developing social protection systems to support those who cannot support themselves;
  • empowering people living in poverty and their organizations, addressing the disproportionate impact of poverty on women; and
  • intensifying international cooperation for poverty eradication.

What can we do as a nation? We can start by educating people on a basic level, by increasing the minimum wage or by effectively providing poor people jobs which can pay them enough to feed their families and better we can do is eliminating corruption at the basic level which does not let the government provided services or yojans reach the needy people. Excepting government out of this, we citizens, who are capable of affording a normal life can surely help others who can’t. We can utilize our free time and be providing education to the poor. Poverty is a ‘social evil’  which we all have to fight and stand up against amalgamated and help our own people who are suffering. India, over time, has worked tremendously towards eradicating this problem and saved around 271 million people out of poverty.

The world is rapidly growing and developing into more urban and suburbs eliminating the rural areas. Poverty is the parent of devolution and has also been a major contributing factor of crimes such as theft because a hungry man is not a free man and will do anything to fulfil his hunger and needs. Poverty is definitely a hindrance to the nation’s growth and development and not only it curbs a person from his basic necessities but also strips away his dignity. Since independence, there has been a lot of schemes to reduce poverty and infuse development and prosperity. It is of the essence to get rid of poverty. India, as a nation, is awake and its progressive and inclusive policies are paving a way for a prosperous India and hopefully, within a few decades, we might see every person living in India above the poverty line with the basic needs of hygiene, nutritious food, clothing and a decent house for living and to enjoy a decent standard of living, freedom, dignity, and the respect. Poverty makes other problems worse and has been a catalyst to problems such as bonded labour, human trafficking and the spread of disease. Do not look at the other way around. The world is hungry for actions and not words. Act with courage and vision and as long as poverty, injustice and gross inequalities exist in our world none of us can truly rest.

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