The rich-poor divide is a problem that troubles countries across the world, what is appalling about it in India is that India is a democracy and in a democratic state people expect the state to do good for them, people in countries under dictatorship do not expect the state to do anything for them.” Last month when Mukesh Ambani was named the richest man on the planet, the whole of India was jubilant. Newspapers and news channels went over-board in their coverage; after all it was a matter of pride and another milestone for the new and strong India.
Again, when the Sensex touched 20,000 all Indians were celebrating the milestone, even those who did not invest in the market. At around the same time, scores of people from
Gwalior had arrived in
Delhi after marching the whole way, protesting against the government’s policy. They were people who were displaced by development projects and were deprived off a livelihood. They were just the tips of the iceberg; there are millions other voiceless people in rural
India who live on just 20 rupees a day. Let alone rural
India, our cities are turning into classic examples of the rich-poor divide. Vast slums exist right next to high-rise apartment buildings, and beggars are a common and disheartening sight. It is about time that we start doing something about it and the impact should be permanent. Our laws and reforms contain excellent solutions to erase poverty, but our bureaucracy has failed dismally in implementing them. The laws should impact those they are actually meant for; the cleansing of the bureaucracy should be done first. The RTI act was one step towards achieving what we have all longed for- a transparent bureaucracy. We inherited not only the system of bureaucracy from the British but also the British attitude towards helping the poor. The rich-poor divide is a problem that troubles countries across the world, what is appalling about it in India is that India is a democracy, and in a democratic state people expect the state to do good for them, people in countries under dictatorship do not expect the state to do anything for them. Often, success is associated with education, with most of India’s population being illiterate; it will be difficult to bring about a change until a proper education system is in place. In rural
India only government schools exist and their quality is incomparable to the private schools in urban
India. Even in urban
India, not all sections of the population can afford the highly qualitative private schools and have to resort to the government schools. Moreover, the definition of literacy in by
India is limited to knowing to write one’s name. This is unacceptable in this day and age where jobs require high qualifications.
Immediate action needs to be taken to stop the rich-poor divide getting wider and wider. Jobs should be created and those displaced by development projects should be properly rehabilitated. We will witness many more Nandigrams if proper efforts are not made to ensure them a livelihood and basic dignity.