15 Mar 2023  |   05:59am IST

Poverty Alleviation through inclusive growth


Water, air, sunlight, soil, oil, coal, natural gas, metals, stone and sand are natural resources. Animals, birds, fish and plants are natural resources as well. Natural resources are used to make food, fuel and raw materials for production of goods. The food that people eat comes from plants or animals. Abundance of natural resources means that development will come a lot easier to that country than for one where there isn't much natural resources available. There is a positive relationship between natural resources and economic development.

Countries with little or nil resources will have to import natural resources from other countries and spend more on import. For example Hong Kong buys (imports) close to HKD 4 billion worth of water every year from China! Still the economy of Hong Kong is highly developed. Countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy, which have little natural resources registered humongous growth.

India is blessed with abundant natural resources which include water, fertile soil, coal (4th largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese ore (7th largest reserve in the world as in 2013), lithium ore, mica, bauxite (5th largest reserve in the world as in 2013), chromite, natural gas, diamonds, limestone, etc. India has perennial rivers offering plenty of fresh water. Ganges flows the maximum length in UP (1,140 km), Uttarakhand (320 km), Bihar (445 km) and West Bengal (520 km). Ganga basin is the largest river basin in India in terms of catchment area, constituting 26% of the country's land mass (8,61,404 sq. km) and supporting about 43% of its population (448.3 million as per 2001 census).

India is blessed with an enviable median age of 28.4. As per CII report, in 2020, there were about 900 million people (67% of total population) in the working age group of 15-64, which is expected to expand by another 100 million by 2030, despite its declining fertility rate. This implies that a whopping 24.3% of the global workforce over the next decade will come from India.

Despite this, 22% of India’s population is living below the national poverty percentage. The list of States ranked according to poverty as of 2022 (2021-22) as hosted by NITI Aayog’s sustainable development goals dashboard; and RBI ‘Handbook of Statistics on Indian Economy’ revealed that around 30% of people from UP, Bihar, MP, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Assam and Odisha live below the national poverty percentage.

Why are more than 20% of Indians living below the national poverty percentage?

Is it because of poor planning, corruption or lack of quality education, skill development and healthcare? Or is it lack of self-motivation, self-discipline and focus or lack of compassion among us? Or is it because of the most infectious disease called laziness? Yes, independent India has grown leaps and bounds in the last 75 years, no doubt; but not inclusive growth.

Time to work together as team India to ensure all round rapid progress for all Indians.