Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On Poverty: Blog Action Day

Today is blog action day. The theme this year is poverty. Since poverty is such a huge problem in this country, I thought I'd share about two families that are representative of the vast amount of people living in poverty here (over 220 million people).

This family of 5 (pictured with friends) lives in one 10 ft x 10 ft room with only one double bed. They share a bathroom and a kitchen with other families who live in the community. The father is a Hindu priest and is dependent on religious monetary gifts from others to provide for his family. The average monthly income for a Hindu priest is between $6 and $13.

This couple has three daughters. They wake up around 4 am and begin washing clothes to earn a living. At around 2 pm they arrive outside my house and begin pressing clothes to also add to their income. I'm not sure how much they charge for washing clothes but they charge 2 rupees (or about 4 cents) per piece of clothing. That does not add up to much. I think the average income for their kind of work is less that $200 a year.

"Poverty in India is reducing but it is still a major issue. Rural Indians depend on unpredictable agriculture incomes, while urban Indians rely on jobs that are, at best, scarce.

Since its independence, the issue of poverty within India has remained a prevalent concern. According to the common definition of poverty, when a person finds it difficult to meet the minimum requirement of acceptable living standards, he or she is considered poor.

Millions of people in India are unable to meet these basic standards, and according to government estimates, in 2007 there were nearly 220.1 million people living below the poverty line.

Nearly 21.1% of the entire rural population and 15% of the urban population of India exists in this difficult physical and financial predicament. The following chart presents the poverty situation:

Poverty Situation

(for more, see

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