Sunday, March 01, 2009

We love Oscars not Slums : India

Many criticized the makers of Slumdog millionaire. They complained that India was projected in a bad taste. Poverty was shown but not the prosperity. 

Recently there was a case before the Supreme Court of India. In an astounding position before the SC, it has held that one has to earn only Rs 455 a month in urban areas and Rs 328 in rural areas to escape the poor tag. “At present, on 1999-2000 prices, the poverty line at all India level is Rs 327.56 and Rs 454.11 for rural and urban people per capita per month respectively,” said the health and family welfare ministry in a recent affidavit.

In the government’s scheme, the poverty line drawn on the basis of monthly income varies widely from state to state. To classify as poor in the four metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai — the person’s monthly income has to be less than Rs 506, Rs 540, Rs 410 and 475, respectively. Which means, if your daily earnings cross Rs 17 in Delhi, Rs 18 in Mumbai, Rs 14 in Kolkatta and Rs 16 in Chennai, you are among those fortunate not to be counted by the government as poor!!!!!!!! Despite using these ridiculously low monthly incomes to classify a person as poor, the government has identified a huge chunk — over 260 Million — as poor because they do not even earn these paltry sums. Now imagine this number. 

As someone said we love Oscars not Slums. These figures were an eye opener for me. Certainly India is not shining for all those. We make a lot of noise when sensex drops by few points but nobody cries for the millions dying every day because they cant afford to buy food every day, because they cant but medicines, because we don’t care for them. 

I want the Indian Government to help these downtrodden rather than spending billions on war machines and all those glossy Advertisements to make India shining for elite few. These unfortunate people are also human beings. Help them. They also have right to live a dignified life. 

(Trivia: Orissa and Bihar account for more than one-fifth of the total poor in India. As per affidavit, Jammu and Kashmir is least afflicted by poverty.)

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