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Poverty a big challenge for India
India is on track to become a global power. However, poverty seems to be increasing, despite economic miracles, many Indians still live in abject poverty. It is time to wake up and take emergency steps to usher in change.
POVERTY IS a monumental crisis and the biggest challenge facing India today. It should be dealt at an emergency level, acclaimed Indo-American leader Rajan Zed said today.


In a statement in Nevada (USA), Zed said although India is on track to become a global power, but her new prosperity has remained evasive for many. Despite economic miracles, many Indians still live in abject poverty. Inequalities in opportunities block poor people from participating in the growth process and they remain trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty.


Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, argues that income gaps are widening fast in India, where about one third of world's poor live. Wealth distribution and growth have been uneven across various economic and social groups, urban and rural populations, and geographical regions. A large population of India works in the informal labor sector, with no steady jobs and no social security. The number of poor living on less than $1.25 a day has increased. It is blight on the country, which prides herself on having joined the league of hottest growth economies.


Zed further said that problems like severe malnutrition; spiralling food prices; ineffectual government programmes; lack of access to medical facilities, potable water, energy sources, sanitation; illiteracy; among others need to be immediately dealt with. Poverty has led to many other societal problems, which the country faces today. Basic inequalities need to be addressed if India wants all her people to be able to share the fruits of the growth.


Religions should also put their share in poverty eradication programmes in the communities. Large corporations, which have enormously benefitted from India's economic growth, are also obligated to cater to social and environmental concerns and should take responsibility in poverty eradication, Zed pointed out.


Zed warned that India should wake up to the magnitude of the emergence of poverty. Raising people above the poverty line is an achievable task. It just needs strong political and social will. Make it a policy priority; treat it as a crisis, he added.
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