Removal of Poverty from India
Poverty is the greatest curse of India. It is the grave problem faced by the country today. When we got independence, nearly 50% of the people were below the line of poverty. This state of affairs continues even today, with some variations. Poverty is the prime source of all evils, whether political, social or economic. A poverty-stricken land is an easy prey to its greedy and jealous neighbours. Poverty has brought about political revolutions, moral degeneration and economic upheavals. A nation of hungry and starving millions cannot preserve its integrity and independence for long. Political independence has no meaning to the common man unless he is freed from poverty.
How can we remove poverty from India ? The gap between the rich and the poor should be reduced, though this is not easily possible. This involves well-directed efforts on the part of the government and also the active co-operation of the rich and the poor. The rich must be prepared to make sacrifices and reduce their consumer expenditure, and the poor must be prepared to work hard for improving their lot. It may be worthwhile to find how some of the countries of the world have succeeded in their attempts to end poverty. Former West Germany, Japan, Italy and France are among the democratic countries who have tackled this problem with astonishing success. It is the plan adopted by the Government and the spirit shown by its people, which have accounted for this great success. They did not have hundreds of public sector undertakings running at heavy loss. There was no question of industrial indiscipline, pulls and pushes by political parties, and lock-outs. The example shown by the former Soviet Union and Communist China are equally astonishing. Within a period of two decades, these agricultural countries developed great economic strength by the iron will, firm device and single-minded determination of their leaders. They have seen to it that the people are not allowed to waste their energies and time in petty quarrels and demonstrations in the name of democracy and liberty.
India owes her sad plight of today to her unimaginative and unrealistic fads. The policies and programmes adopted by the governments from time to time have been unrealistic. The people waste their energies and time in petty quarrels for some political gains. If India decides to stick to her democratic institutions, she should then give due recognition to profit motives and free competition. India must re-align her priorities if she wants to banish poverty quickly and effectively. Too much emphasis on individual freedom and rights has resulted in industrial unrest and strikes, leading to low production and poverty. We should eradicate illiteracy and give proper education to the people. The Government should create the right atmosphere for industrial growth. This will generate great scope for employment. When we are able to solve the problem of unemployment, we will also succeed in ending poverty.