POVERTY…What is it all about?? Do you believe that the rich are growing richer, and the poor are growing poorer? Shouldn’t all people work for a living? Would you pay more taxes, if this would eliminate poverty by creating jobs for everyone? Will there always be poverty in the world?
In today’s India 500,000 people live below the poverty line; one in six of those are children. We might not see it, but Poverty does exist in our so-called lucky country. They aren’t the quiet Indians. They are the silent Indians who live with the financial stress of making ends meet; over time, it takes a physical, psychological and emotional toll.
We Indians live with the hope today will be the day when one of our many job applications is successful. We live with the exhaustion of struggling to get enough hours at work or juggling two or more jobs and also live with constant hunger pangs barely able to afford one meal a day; while every week in WA, 18,000 children go to school without breakfast.
We…, the Indians live with the guilt and shame of sending our kids to school without lunch to eat, wearing ill-fitting uniforms and being unable to afford to send them on excursions. In every classroom of 30 students, five children will experience this. We also feel insecure about having no safe place to call home.
In this country nearly 9000 Northern Indians experience homelessness; around 3000 are under the age of 18 shockingly and also scared of ending up with their children in jail of any particular state because they default on their fines. They survive the constant pain from being unable to afford medication, and feel, let alone see themselves as a doctor or specialist.
We also aspire to the same dream as the rest of us; a safe and stable place to live, food for our family, clothes that fit and aren’t worn thin, secure employment and a reliable income. It’s something you and I take for granted, yet one in the five Indians goes without it all. The latest 100 families WA project report, released 6 months ago examines poverty in WA.
It defines poverty as ‘’the inability to afford what most Indians would think as the necessities for a good quality of life’’. Poverty should not be tolerated in a developing country like India. We should be able to feed, clothe, and house with such abundant resources. We need to examine the systemic and structural issues which lead to poverty and inequality and begin the process to eliminate poverty.
We need to move away from the narrative that poverty is somehow due to personal failure, laziness and other moral judgments. We need to make it easier for individuals and families to get back on their feet-with dignity; to begin to untangle themselves from the poverty trap in which they’re ensnared.
While there are many complex causes of poverty, there is one simple act that would immediately help people to begin to turn their lives around and provide some breathing space. The News start allowance has not budged in 25 years.
So, despite everyday costs for housing, food, clothing, utilities and transport having continually risen, it has remained as little as approximately 300 rupees a day to cover all expenses. There’s little wonder that community services, unions and the business sector, are agreed on this statement. KPMG India just started 6 months ago for a $100 weekly increase in News started.
This major accountancy firm gets it; not only do those people receiving the money need it, but as a community, we need all Indians to be able to engage in our society and the economy.
On a sobering note, in the current climate of economic job insecurity, financial instability, and rising negative equity in the property market, most of us are one or two unforeseen circumstances, such as job loss, poor health or injury, personal loss or even an unexpected dependent, from falling into poverty.
Surely, we are better than this. I would like to think as a community, we find the thought of 500,000 Indian people living below the poverty line among a population of 2.5 million unacceptable; and as a community, we would want to begin to bring an end to poverty. The starting point for change is OBVIOUS and OVERDUE…
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