01 December, 2020

A Paisa For Your Thoughts

For the poor, the fruit of reforms still look to be on a branch out of reach. Is government machinery to blame?

Gireesh G.V.
A Paisa For Your Thoughts
Some things never change in India. As I cruise to a stop at one of the capital's many traffic signals that says 'relax', on a road that's much smoother than in 1995, in a vehicle that has the latest global quality certification, breathing in an air much less polluted than a decade ago, surrounded by several cars sporting MNC tags and well-dressed people busy with their laptops or talking into their mobiles, a thin little hand taps at my rolled-up window. The little boy wants a rupee. A rupee that might buy him only a few peanuts from a kind vendor or half an earthen cup of tea.

Even if the beggar earns Rs 10 by the end of the day, he'll manage to keep his chin above the poverty line. But only just. In India's capital, where the cost of living is the highest, you should consider yourself lucky to get even one meal for Rs 10, nutrition and the government's estimate of 2200 kcal (poverty line) be damned.

India still has 450 million people earning less than a dollar a day (700 million at less than $2 a day), which is the World Bank's globally acknowledged definition of...


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