Why, when there is such distressing poverty in other parts of the globe, while India seems to be getting more affluent... why should we spare time to think about poverty in India?
Rural India, with its 280 million people living 'below the poverty line', may fairly be called the world's biggest single poverty trap.
In 1996, the United Front national government announced a definite poverty goal for the country: poverty eradication by the year 2005.
But this has not happened. In 2003, the ruling BJP party boasted about ‘India shining’ as if the elite are India, but the rural masses voted them out. Since then, the Congress-led UPA coalition has promised much, but achieved little, about rural poverty. In particular it has still not defined a clear role in development for ‘grass-roots’ NGOs.
Without help from the voluntary sector working within the framework of government policy and funding, the task is beyond the power and scope of government. NGOs with clear goals, sound strategy and high standards for project delivery, are playing a more and more critical role.
The two Indias To find out more about the ‘two Indias’ and why there is a growing divide between the urban middle classes and the rural poor, please take a look at The two Indias.
What does poverty mean in rural India? Poverty in rural India is very different from the poverty many of us see when visiting the big Indian cities. To find out more about rural Indian poverty, please click here.
Why focus on villages and not cities? While millions of young people continue to drift towards the cities in the hope of finding work, the numbers of rural poor still dramatically outweigh the urban poor. To find out more about why we focus our work on the rural poor and village livelihood, click here.
Why focus on women? To find out why we believe that women are pivotal to change in rural communities, click here.