There are ways economists measure poverty line. Mostly it is based on the per capita expenditure per person. But many countries also add to this other calculations, like the amenities available and free education at the disposal of its citizens. India has narrowed it down to a spending over Rs 32 a day in rural areas and Rs 47 in towns and cities per person as above poverty line and those who cannot spend this much on a daily basis fall below poverty line. This guide comes from the former RBI governor C Rangarajan. So we can safely estimate that 270 million odd people in India are below poverty line.
For lack of records and the vastness of the nation and the apathy of governmental will to escalate progress for the benefit of the 270-odd million below poverty level makes it impossible to quantify their distress, in economic parlance. These many people, who live below the poverty line, do not have access to hygiene. They do not have toilets, they cannot seek clean medical facilities, they do not have sufficient running water for their ablutions, they cannot buy soaps, detergents, nail cutters, sanitary pads and other toiletries. Life is tough and difficult on a daily basis and during illness and crisis it just gets worse! Their rag cloths are not clean enough to quickly bind an open wound, leave alone a first aid kit in their possession.
These are work worn people, dismayed by their predicament and unaware of how to better their position and circumstances because of lack of education. Education through the mobile phone is hogwash, it augers well for the service providers and not distressed farmers or their like.
These poor people cannot perceive a future, and are pressured by societal systems into marrying and additional costs and mouths to feed. We cannot tell them not to marry and not to procreate. That is their fundamental choice and right. But the world has moved on from fundamentals to highly scientific choices; such basic decisions too need to be quantified to be economically self reliant.
These are people who need nourishment and food, the cheaper the better. Realistically we cannot afford to ban any meat, because it will escalate the cost of other meats. Cheap protein is essential to build muscles and keep diseases at bay. The cheaper the meats the healthier will their nourishment be. It’s imperative of any government to understand the food requirements of its citizens and it is important to make sure that they get three square meals of not just rice and dal, but vegetables and protein. The government ought to concentrate on balanced food and encourage through health service providers and print pamphlets that will help them understand what a balanced meal is.
They need education to improve their standard of living. Education must be re-structured in a way to educate the urban people effectively and make them industry ready and educate the rural people in their capacity to better their lives and their understanding of their occupations. To have school and college exams in one capacity for rural and urban people cannot achieve the purpose of teaching, precisely why we see a large number of students failing each year. It does not mean the rural and urban people should remain divided, there will be crossovers and those crossovers will be acting within their capacity.
Decongesting cities and urban areas is important. Job opportunities and viable vocations should be offered not only in cities but rural and semi rural areas too, to decongest the floating population. Whereby job opportunities can be easily visible and matching of skill to a job can be enhanced.Once growth is dynamic and toward a better future, then people will look at improved amenities like toilets, provided there is running water to use them.