The Rising Menace of Urban Poverty

The Rising Menace of Urban Poverty

In the final quarter of the year 2013, the economy of the country grew by only 4.7 percent. But compared with the ailing nations of Europe, India’s growth does not seem to be so negative. However, it is far below the growth rate of 8% which is required for India to combat challenges such as urban poverty. As the upcoming general elections become a battle for political supremacy, the question of inclusive growth remains within the parameters of discussions on how to galvanize growth in India. A significant percentage of Indians continue to live in poverty. Over 32.7% of the country lives below the international poverty line. Nearly 33% of the world’s poor population reside in our country. India is also home to one-third of the slave population in the nation.

Amidst dismal social an economic indicators, the spectre of urban poverty continues to cast its shadow over those who want to see India emerge as a superpower. The rise in the number of urban slums in India’s towns and cities are adding to the dismal state of affairs. Besides lack of adequate housing, India’s urban poor also face problems such as lack of access to sanitation or healthcare facilities. They are at a higher risk when it comes to crime, abuse, exploitation and exposure to diseases. India’s urban poor are an indication that policies and initiatives still have a long way to go before they can exert their desired impact.

The administration also needs to be more proactive in tackling the situation. Figures provided by World Bank and McKinsey are indicative of the lack of effective measures to address the problem of poverty. About 35 million people have been assisted to move out of extreme poverty since the 1980s in India. This is in direct contrast to nations such as China where over 678 million people have been lifted out of poverty. In fact, income inequality across one-third of the Indian states in urban areas has reached its peak in the 2011 since the 1970s.

The rising gap between the rich and the poor is the reason why India has failed to achieve superpower status in recent years. The skewed income levels have made it very difficult for India to experience uniform growth and development. This has a negative impact on consumer spending as well. If citizens have low consumption patterns due to poor purchasing powers, this can influence the state of the Indian economy as well. As with everything else, there are distinct interconnections between urban poverty and the state at which the Indian economy progresses.

Christine Lagarde, who is the chairperson of the IMF has remarked that inequality damages growth in the long term eventually. The increase in the gap as far as income levels are concerned is another factor that has contributed to the problems being faced by our nation. There are numerous factors that have influenced the emergence of urban poverty in India. The rural to urban migration is actually not working out in our favour. Youth from rural areas come to urban centres to try and get jobs to make ends meet. Another problem is the contraction in the industrial sector. This compounds the woes of the youngsters seeking job opportunities in urban areas. They are further handicapped by lack of skills.

This leads them to urban poverty. Urban population in India is growing at a massive rate. It has expanded from 27.8% in 2011 to 38% in the year 2025. The fall in the growth of the manufacturing sector has also been an important factor influencing the rate of urban poverty. It is due to jobless growth and the fall in the productivity of the manufacturing sector that India has become a breeding ground for urban poverty. Urban unemployment patters are very discouraging currently. The growth of slums and the widening inequality in income has also been a negative factor when it comes to combating urban poverty.

The link between inadequate infrastructure and lack of growth opportunities is very strong. It is contributing to urban poverty as well. Pro-poor policies need to be in place to tackle this menace. The new government should focus on eliminating urban poverty through initiatives such as industrial skills training and vocational education initiatives. Entrepreneurs in urban areas should also be given special initiatives for generating employment. Urban poverty can be eliminated if India concentrates on channelizing resources and mobilizing the manufacturing sector for inculcating growth.
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  • RE: The Rising Menace of Urban Poverty -Deepa Kaushik (04/30/14)
  • Urban poverty is definitely a new battle that is being initiated. With the globalization, the expectations of the equilibrium in the socio-economic status of the citizens of the nation has been just a dream. The consolidation of the wealth to a particular section of the society is making poor, more and more poor.

    The lack of employment to the youth is a great promoter of the urban poverty. We have immense manpower, but we still focus on the machine power and prefer to be dependent on the machines than on humans. The era of computers was started by the developed nations with less manpower, to tackle their production rate with the available resources. Our blind following the mechanical tools have left us more poor.

    We show up the upsurge of the graph indicating the decrease in the number of persons below poverty line. Practically visualizing the same has a different picture to project. The average income of the individual has decreased with respect to their expenditure. We need to concentrate on utilization of the available resources more wisely in order to decrease the menace of urban poverty.