India, one of the most densely populated country of 1, 33 billion population as on Thursday, June 1, 2023; based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data, makes the country rank as world’s second most populous nation.
India has made great strides in reducing its overall poverty level in recent years and continues moving towards the right direction, Zimbabwe with its 72 percent of its 14 million population wallowing in poverty should take a leaf from India.
The country of India is an independent state found in South Asia, and it is ranked as the 7th biggest in the world with an area covering 1.269 million square miles.
According to recently published Global Multi-dimensional Poverty Index in 2023, 415 million individuals were able to escape multidimensional poverty in the last 15 years. It exhibited a sharp drop of poverty from 55,1 percent to 16,4 percent.
India’s 16,4 percent of the 1,33 billion population is considered to be poor and 4,2 percent are considered to be extremely poor. 18.7percent of the people are considered to be at the risk of poverty.
According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), India’s economy in 2017 was worth $2.611 trillion. The country has managed to maintain an impressive GDP growth rate of 5.8% over two decades and managed to reach the highest point of 6.1% during 2011-2012.
India is among the world’s most rapidly growing economies. However, the country is ranked 140th, regarding nominal GDP per capita and rank at position 129th, in regard to GDP based on purchasing power parity.
According to IMF, at the growth rate of 11,5 percent, India is going to be the fastest growing economy in 2023. It is the world’s only country to register a double-digit growth in 2023.
Just like any other nation, India was affected by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and many were pushed into poverty. It is estimated that about 7 million jobs were lost in a year. Zimbabwe and other countries should move on and capacitate their citizens than continue mourning the impacts of covid on poverty.
As per the real time data from World Poverty Clock, 7 percent of the Indian population are living in extreme poverty and 0,6 Indians are escaping extreme poverty every minute.
India maintained a protectionist approach with influence from the socialist economies up to 1991. State regulations and intervention were widespread during this period, and the economy was protected from the outside world.
India government’s spending on rural welfare schemes helped in a big way to reduce national poverty. About 70 percent of Zimbabweans live in rural areas and if the government of Zimbabwe increase rural funding the rural lives will be uplifted. Devolution and decentralisation policy embarked by the Zimbabwe government should not be a paper policy but should be practically implemented.
The acute imbalance of payment which culminated to a crisis in 1991 forced the Indian government to liberalise its economy and ever since the country has moved towards a free market-based economy which emphasizes direct investment inflows and foreign trade, and this positively impacted the economy.
Some of India’s natural resources include iron ore, bauxite, manganese, mica, diamonds, natural gas, oil, arable land, and chromites among others.
Bihar is the poorest state in India. Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya being some of the states known for their poverty.
Measures By India To Curb Poverty
Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP)
Is one of the driving schemes of poverty alleviation programmes that has bestowed a lot in ridding the evil of deprivation to a certain level. It was introduced in 1978-79, the major objective of the scheme stands as providing self-employment to the target audience that exists below the poverty line. The target includes agricultural labourers, small and marginal farmers and rural artisans. In addition, inclusions are compelled where 50 percent is allotted to the scheduled castes and tribes.
Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana
It is known as Samproorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana. It intends to generate demand driven communities in the rural areas with the rationale of employing the people. Employment is provided to those living below the poverty line defined by the government. 3 percent has been allocated to providing barrier free infrastructure to disabled people.
Pradhan mantri Grameen Awaas Yojana
It was launched in 2015 and is one of the flourishing schemes under the poverty alleviation programmes initiated by the government. It thrives to provide free houses for the people living in the rural areas that are poor. The advancement is made through the subsidy process, involvement of the private sector and reasonable housing to the people at subsidised rates.
National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)
The Programme was launched in 1999 with its main objective being giving social security to the neglected categories of the society that are widows, disabled and aged persons. Pensions are provided to people who are contemplated as destitute. The scheme bestows social security to the eligible beneficiaries. The beneficiaries do not have to contribute at the first phase to receive this pension under the National Old Age Pension Scheme. The government also provides funds under the National Maternity Benefit Scheme to the women for their prenatal and postnatal sustenance. This financial grant is given to women belonging to families that are not financially well. Then there is national family benefit Scheme which provides funds to families whose main wage earner dies due to any reason. Under this, a sum of 10 000 is provided to the household.
The scheme was enacted in 1999-2000 and its main aim has always been to provide a nutritional diet to the senior citizens who are unable to do that for themselves. This scheme under the poverty alleviation programme provides 10kg of free nutritional diet every month for the aged citizens.
India channeled a lot of resources to the rural areas and the marginalised members of the society for it to be recognised for its classical reduction of poverty over the years.
Zimbabwe is in cordial relationship with India and should take notes of how they managed to reduce poverty, they can even do exchange visits among other measures. With a clear and robust poverty policy, Zimbabwe is deemed to eradicate poverty in a short space of time considering its vast natural resources and a relatively smaller population as compared to India.
Zimbabwe should embark on :
Improving agricultural productivity and boosting resilience to climate Change
About two thirds of Zimbabweans work in Agriculture related industry while many Zimbabweans directly or indirectly depend on it. Incomes from agriculture are the lowest reflecting low productivity and high exposure to climate risks.
There is need to increase market orientation of agriculture diversification to high volume crops and resilience from climate change. Government subsidies to agriculture should be apolitical but based on merit. Measures should in place to recover loans offered to farmers.
Transition of the economy from rural, low productivity to higher productivity activities in industry and services often concentrated in urban areas.
It has been reported that the pace of urbanisation and structural transformation has been sluggish limiting the opportunities for income growth. Since climate change is one of the most severe risks Zimbabweans face in the coming decades, with serious ramifications on poverty, livelihoods and food security, policies to boost resilience must be implemented now to avoid worse outcomes in the future. Corruption being so cancerous that it is found in every stratum of life, authorities being, should try to nab it from the roots so that any activity planned for poverty eradication will not crumble down through corruption.
Zimbabwe is one with the most educated people in the world, it has some good strategies on blueprint that address poverty, but this writing is a clarion call to authority to be practically involved in fighting poverty. If those policies still remain on paper, the greater citizens of the country will remain in shackles of lack. India, your all weather friend is willing to assist of how to eradicate poverty.