Cover image source: http://www.dw.com/en/what-is-driving-inequality-in-india/a-18998489
My Complex Question: How drastic is the disparity of the rich versus the poor in India today?
Reasons for poverty in India:
Caste: People of lower castes are often excluded from society, which is made up largely of members of high castes and upper classes. These people of lower castes are also isolated from society, because, although the caste system has been made illegal in India, villages in more rural areas are still caste-conscious.
Social class/status: People, usually of upper classes, who live in the city (about 30% of population) have easier access to education and money, and most economic growth takes place in these areas giving urbaners a better chance of financial stability than those who live in the outskirts of modern cities.
Gender: In India, men have a larger voice in society than women. Women usually receive less education than men, and are discriminated and exploited. Usually, their main role in any family is to do housework and take care of children.
Literacy: Literacy is a huge factor in determining wherther or not one will succeed in life. The illiterate population in India mostly consists of women and people lving in rural areas. Only about 26.6% of women over the age of 25 have received secondary education, compared to the 50.4% of men that are literate. Although, as the money-maker of the family it is important for a man to be literate to have a job, a woman's literacy also drasticaly imapacts the well-being of a family. If a woman is literate and has received a decent education, she is more likely to raise healtheir children, as well as contributing economically.
Population: More and more poverty exists in India because of its population growth rate. Population increases 1.4%, or 18 million people, anually. However, not as many people are lifted out of poverty, which results in the inevitable increase in the percentage of poverty in India. Also, women, and men, with a lack of understanding about reproduction can be another factor in the increasing population.
Unequal distribution of wealth: The land holding pattern in India is unfair and unequal, leaving a monstrous amount of land to just a few landlords. This pattern was also boosted during the colonial British rule, and this represents the fact that the upper class, that does not represent the majority of Indians, controls most everything.
Faulty economic reforms: India's failed attempts at reforming and improving the economy is a huge part of the reason why income inequality and poverty exists. The country's attempt to strengthen the economy using a very Westernized method, called the "trickle down" method, is one where the upper class people are made wealthier, which is supposed to boost the economy and the whole pattern of obtaining wealth would eventually "trickle down" to the lower classes. However, this was not the case, as the rich only got richer and the poor did not benefit much. The rich are only getting wealthier and more powerful. In the 1990's, there were two billionaires in India, but currently, there are 97. The rich are controlling more wealth as well. In 2003, the top 1% controlled about 1.8% of the nation's fortune, but in 2008, they ended up controlling about 26%. In addition, large companies, like high-tech industries, are not generating sufficient jobs. The workforce in India is 450 million people. 30 million of those people have formal jobs, and 70 million are recognized as unemployed by the government. That means that 350 million people are unaccouunted for by the government.
Corruption: Money is being donated to those in need in India, but not all of that money goes towards its actual cause. Only about 15-35% of the donations and funds go to helping the cause, and the rest – yep, you guessed it – goes to the wealthy people with high connections to that cause.
Colonial British rule: before the British seized India, most, if not all of the money and resources aquired stayed within the country, whether it was to help the nation or for personal luxury. Meaning, that it did not drain the country of its own resources to help another strive. However, – news flash! – the complete opposite happened when the British took over. They secured raw materials such as cotton, opium, tea and grains, all for Britain's benefit. As a result, it left poor people like farmers vunerable to famine.
Answer to Complex Question:
The disparity between the rich versus the poor in India today is extremely drastic. India has the fourth largest number of millionaire in Asia, after China and Japan. There are also currently 97 billionaires in the country as well. On the other hand, 53.7%, or 650 million people are poor, with 29.5% of the entire Indian population, 363 million people, under the poverty line. Many of these lower class people live on a dollar or less per day, while the millionaires and billionaires of the nation boast their enormous wealth. Currently, the number of upper class millionaires and billionaires is increasing rapidly, as the population of Indians under the poverty line continuously explodes. Most of these wealthy families live in urban cities, while much of the poor live in more rural areas. Most of the economic development occurs in these bustling cities, excluding the millions of underprivileged people living in rural areas who are not able to benefit from these developments. The Indian government is biased and very much refers the wealthy upper class people, almost completely neglecting the majority of Indians who are poor. This sudden increase in poverty all began during the colonial British rule, which took advantage of India and exploited its natural resources, such as cotton, opium, tea and grain, all for Britain’s benefit. After that, attempts to strengthen the economy using a very Westernized method, called the “trickle down” method, has failed. The trickle down method is where the rich are made richer which would likely boost the economy, and this effect was supposed to “trickle down” to the lower social classes, but instead it just made the rich richer and did not do much to help the poor who are in desperate need of the money. In addition, money donated to help the poor get out of poverty is not always a success. Only 15%-35% of the money is actually effectively used, and the rest goes to the upper class people with high connections to the cause. The rich almost always seem to be at an advantage in India.
Additional questions after research:
• What does the prime minister of India think about income inequality in the country?
• What do the wealthy Indians think about income inequality and poverty?
• Have there been protests about income inequality and/or poverty in India?
• Do the Indians know that not all the money going towards supporting a cause helping poverty and income inequality is actually being used effectively?