Challenges faced by the underprivileged section in India

Even though India is the world’s seventh-largest country and has a rapidly developing economy, two-thirds of its population lives in poverty: 68.8% of the Indian population lives on less than $2 per day. As a result, the Indian subcontinent is one of the poorest countries in the world, with women and children bearing the brunt of the suffering. Around 23 crore Indians have been pushed into poverty in the last year as a result of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, which wreaked havoc on the economy and livelihoods.

Countries where poverty headcounts are likely to rise the most due to COVID-19

The poverty rate in rural areas increased by 15 percentage points, while it soared by nearly 20 percentage points in urban areas. In India, almost 800 million people are considered poor. The majority of them live in the countryside and make ends meet by working odd jobs. Many Indians are flocking to quickly rising metropolises such as Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore, and Calcutta due to a lack of jobs that pay a reasonable salary in rural areas. Most of them predict a life of poverty and despair in the mega-slums, which are made out of millions of corrugated ironworks and lack adequate drinking water, waste collection, and, in many cases, power. Diseases like cholera, typhus, and dysentery, which affect children, in particular, are caused by poor sanitary conditions.

Some of the most important problems faced by the poor in our society are as follows:

Social Discrimination

1. Social Discrimination

The impoverished are looked down upon by employers, the wealthy, bureaucrats, and even the government. They are thought to be sluggish, inefficient, and a drain on society. At every level, they are harassed, humiliated, and discriminated against. They are always the focus of assault and hatred by the powerful because they are unrepresented and helpless.

They must contend with issues such as illiteracy and social discrimination. They lack collective power, and they are crushed whenever they try to band together at the local or micro level against the politically, economically, and socially stronger parts of society (who see these attempts as threats to their dominance).

For credit, they must pay a higher interest rate. They are accused of being disorganised, immature, and lacking in foresight. In the offices they visit, they are given little or no attention. When a theft or crime is reported to the police, officers rush to regions populated by the poor, as if the impoverished are the only ones who conduct crimes. They are rarely thought of as dependable, dependable, or trustworthy. The antagonistic attitude of society at every step so decreases their self-esteem, produces a sense of inferiority in them, and stifles their efforts to obtain the resources they need to improve themselves.

Housing

2. Housing

In metropolitan regions, homelessness, overpopulation, slums, and rental restrictions are all important issues. In the challenges associated with poverty, the family’s dwelling unit and the neighbourhood in which it is located are key aspects. Poor people’s homes are not only congested but also lack privacy.

The former is marked by strong feelings of completing family commitments, providing assistance and security to the family’s elderly, infirm, and unemployed members, affiliation with family traditions, joint efforts of members to attain family goals and care for family status.

In addition to the family’s place on a continuum between two polar types of values, the members’ relationships outside the home are influenced by the neighbourhood. A significant percentage of family life takes place outside the dwelling unit in urban slums. The darkness of the dwellings leads youngsters out into the streets, posing a difficulty for parents in terms of child supervision. The current space does not allow for proper sleeping arrangements and forces privacy invasion.

Family tensions have an impact on their personality and behaviour; self-respect is destroyed, and cynicism is cultivated. Poverty leads people to live in inadequate housing and leaves little money for the necessities of life. Inadequate housing also contributes to the breakdown of family bonds.

Malnutrition

3. Malnutrition

In India, about 33 lakh children are malnourished, with more than half of them suffering from severe malnutrition. Between November 2020 and October 14, 2021, the number of seriously acute malnutrition children (SAM) increased by 91 percent, from 9.27 lakh to 17.76 lakh.

Despite making countless efforts and spending a significant amount of money on child welfare, India remains one of the countries with the worst rates of child malnutrition. Indians favour a carbohydrate-rich diet, which often results in protein deficiencies and malnutrition in children. In India, an estimated 23.6 percent of the population lives on less than 100 rupees a day.

Although poverty does not directly cause malnutrition, it does leave a substantial portion of the population without enough food. People are too poor to go out and buy food, resulting in a lack of access to food. Every day, around 20 crore Indians sleep on an empty stomach. Hunger claims the lives of around 7000 Indians every day. According to reports based on recent data, 25 lakh Indians die each year as a result of starvation. Many organizations have been working towards the project “Zero Hunger”. One such Platform Filaantro, is working to eradicate hunger. You can contribute the same and help India achieve “ZERO HUNGER”.

Child labour

4. Child labour

Between the ages of 7 and 17, there are around 12.9 million Indian youngsters working. When youngsters work or do unpaid employment, they are less likely to attend school or only go on a part-time basis, locking them in a cycle of poverty. Every day, millions of Indian girls and boys work in quarries and factories or sell cigarettes on the streets. The bulk of these children are between the ages of 12 and 17, and they work up to 16 hours a day to support their families. However, child labour in India can begin even earlier, with an estimated 10.1 million children aged 5 to 14 years old working.

Despite the fact that child labour rates have decreased in recent years, children are still subjected to some of the most severe kinds of child labour, including bonded labour, child soldiers, and human trafficking.

Child labour is employed in a range of industries across India, including brick kilns, carpet weaving, garment manufacturing, domestic work, food and refreshment services (such as tea shops), agriculture, fisheries, and mining. Children are also vulnerable to other sorts of abuse, such as sexual exploitation and the production of child pornography, which can occur both in-person and online.

Poverty, social norms that condone child labour, a lack of adequate employment possibilities for adults and adolescents, migration, and emergencies are all factors that contribute to child labour and exploitation. These elements are both the source and the result of social imbalances that are exacerbated by prejudice.

Schools, not workplaces, are where children belong. Child labour deprives children of their right to attend school and perpetuates poverty intergenerationally. Child labour is a significant impediment to education, hurting both attendance and academic achievement.

Despite the country’s economic growth, India has a substantial poverty problem, with more than a third of the population living in poverty.

Poor families have little choice but to put their children to work rather than teach them due to poor living conditions, limited income, and a lack of job diversification.

These youngsters are frequently sold to child traffickers by their parents in order to alleviate their financial burden and acquire additional income.

Hygiene

5. Hygiene

Environmental sanitation aims to improve population health by providing a clean environment and breaking the disease cycle. It is determined by a number of factors, including the people’s hygiene status, the types of resources available, innovative and appropriate technologies tailored to the community’s needs, the country’s socio-economic development, cultural factors related to environmental sanitation, political commitment, capacity building in the concerned sectors, social factors such as the community’s behavioural pattern, and legislative measures taken, among others. In terms of environmental sanitation, India continues to trail behind many other countries.

WASH Programs have been associated with the country’s public health agenda since its inception. Malaria, diarrhoea, cholera, smallpox, and other infectious diseases have claimed far too many lives as a result of poor hygiene, sanitation, and inadequate water supply. As a result, the Indian government has placed a strong emphasis on improving health indices throughout the country, with a particular focus on water supply and sanitation.

Unemployment

6. Unemployment

India has 53 million unemployed people as of December 2021 and a huge proportion of them are women, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy said. Of these, 35 million are the unemployed who are actively seeking work while 17 million are those who, though willing to work, are not actively seeking it. According to CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy), of the 35 million unemployed who were actively looking for work in December 2021, 23% or 8 million were women. The unemployment rate rose in April-June 2021 even as the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) fell to 46.8 percent from 47.5 percent the previous quarter.

Unemployment is one of India’s most serious socio-economic problems. According to The Economist, the main reason for India’s unemployment predicament is its inflexible and restrictive labour rules, as well as its weak infrastructure. According to the Indian government, there were 31 million unemployed individuals in India. In terms of unemployment, Assam’s situation is bad. According to data from the state’s Skill Employment and Entrepreneurship department, there are 19,63,376 registered employees in the state, with 16,65,866 educated or skilled workers and 2,97,510 unskilled workers. Haryana witnessed the highest unemployment rate of 23.4% in January 2022. It was followed by Rajasthan (18.9%), Tripura (17.1%), Jammu & Kashmir (15%) and Delhi (14.1%).

India is a well-endowed land, with a good climate and plenty of natural resources. It has a vibrant, enduring democracy and the rule of law prevails. India has suffered on both the economic and political fronts because we have not had a clear economic vision. We need to focus on things that enhance our national productivity. We need to emphasize supporting the poor section and helping them rise from their existing conditions. India has been a developing country for a long time, it is high time that India now needs to be considered a Developed Country.

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