A “corrupt” poverty line


The poverty in India is measured by a poverty line that is probably one of the most disputed and incessantly attacked measure in the world. What’s more, the World Bank’s controversial poverty line has its origins in the Indian model! It is simply what some call a “starvation line”, a line that accounts for the feeling of satiety: measured in calories.

You may be eating bread all year (or all your life) and use up your body in a few years, you may be living in a flimsy house that flies away at the first storm, and you may not have access to clean water or education: all this doesn’t matter, does it? If you agree it doesn’t, you now have some homework to do: read this page on the definition of poverty again!

Poverty in India – Statistics

  • 50% of Indians don’t have proper shelter;
  • 70% don’t have access to decent toilets (which inspires a multitude of bacteria to host their own disease party);
  • 35% of households don’t have a nearby water source;
  • 85% of villages don’t have a secondary school (how can this be the same government claiming 9% annual growth?);
  • Over 40% of these same villages don’t have proper roads connecting them.

The forgotten poor

There’s also the problem of huge segments of the population that are not included in the official poverty count, namely the Dalits (the untouchables), women and minority ethnic tribes.

They’re groups that are marginalized in the society and These groups are marginalized in society and it’s more convenient for politicians to announce massive reductions in poverty by simply not including them in a census. It is easier to pretend they do not exist at all. However, it is obviously difficult to change the way an entire country and its society functions…

Face the problem… with tact

Right now, rather than trying to radically alter local customs and disrupt wider social dynamics in India, policies should find a way to take them into account. Otherwise, by allowing these groups to be systematically excluded, authorities risk massive social disorder and further tensions.


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