[Answered] “The poor are not only deprived of access to material benefits, but are robbed of the opportunity to participate in social, economic and cultural transactions from a plane of equality.” Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Discuss how poverty cause inequalities and rob poor from various opportunities? What should be done?
Conclusion. Way forward.

The ILO Declaration of Philadelphia, 1944 states that “Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere.” Poverty, therefore, has implications for stability of society and hampers it’s progress. Poverty is one of the main reasons for inequalities in India and prevent poor from the opportunity to participate in social, economic and cultural events.

How poverty cause inequalities and rob poor from various opportunities?

  1. People who suffer from poverty experience a number of deprivations and restrictions. Its manifestations include:
    • Hunger and malnutrition.
    • Limited access to education and other basic services.
    • Social discrimination and exclusion.
    • Lack of participation in decision-making and in civil, social and cultural life.
  2. Country where the per capita income and purchasing power of a poor country or household is below a certain minimum standard, there are low medical care and health facilities, productivity is very low and there is illiteracy. This lead to situation of epidemics and disease in society.
  3. When a group of people are poor they do not have a voice in the community or dependent on other more powerful groups or individuals in order to express their own rights and choices. This endanger human rights in the society and often lead to poor political system in the society which hamper social growth and peace.
  4. All types of socially unacceptable behaviours like drug addiction, crime, position, violence and terrorism in a family or in a community are adopted by poor people to satisfy their stomach.  These factors degrade human self respect, moral and social values of the society as a whole and as a result more and more people in the community become intolerant and rude towards each other in their day to day life.
  5. Poverty destroys the living environment not only of those who live in poverty but of all other human beings as well as non-human living things that depend on the same resources and ecosystem on which those living in poverty depend and survive.
  6. Poor people live in conditions that are miserable, conditions in which some members of their family die of hunger, disease of famine. It lead to parents to sell their child into slavery or prostitution because of lack of resources to feed or care for that child and when government institutes fail to protect the rights of the poor. This is threat to social fabric.

What should be done?

  1. Poverty redressal requires economic growth accompanied by an improvement in access to social services.
  2. Unemployment is at the centre of poverty. For the poor, labour is the only asset that can be used to improve the lives and wellbeing. It is crucial to empower the poor who have the potential but often lack opportunities to shape their lives.
  3. An important measure to generate employment opportunities for the poor and to raise their productivity is the speedy development of infrastructure. Since private sector is not attracted to make adequate investment in infrastructure, public investment needs to be stepped up for its development.
  4. Besides physical infrastructure development, poverty can also be reduced through human resource development. Human resource development requires greater investment in educational facilities such as schools to promote literacy, technical training institutes and vocational colleges to import skills to the people. Further, human resource development requires health care by public investment in Primary Health Centres, dispensaries and hospitals.
  5. For reduction of poverty growth of non-farm employ­ment in the rural areas is of special importance. Non-farm employment is created in marketing, transportation, handicrafts, dairying, and forestry, processing of food and other agricultural products, repair workshops
  6. Empowering and facilitating all citizens to earn such levels of income that they can buy these services from the open market is important. Universal basic income can be provided to extremely poor people.

The indignity and sufferings of people living in poverty is a humanitarian tragedy. It is a challenge putting pressure on all societies. Poverty is the root cause of many problems, posing a severe and distinct threat to food security, climate change resilience, insecurity, democracy, human rights amongst others. Poverty erodes countries’ capacity to address global challenges, and their potential to fully contribute to the successful implementation of UN SDGs.

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