SlumDogs – Pride or Hide??
The Slumdog, the White tiger … are the recent Indian literary marks which received international acclaim. I haven’t gone through both, but came across reviews and articles on newspapers. It seems the true face of Indian poor has been presented in them. There were debates that they are selling the pride of a nation. But what about the ground reality.
India is the home of largest population of Malnutrition people. If we consider the International standards to determine the poverty of India, it stands that about 450 million people are under poverty. And 400 million are just above the international poverty line. And it is no lakshman rekha, these people fluctuate above and below. Even the mildest of a crisis can keep their lives in peril. So a major chunk of our billion plus country are in hand to mouth situation. They have to think twice before sending their school to children. And for a good number of people three times meal is a luxury. And it is a fact that 40% of under three year aged kids are under weight. And regarding proper sanitation , International communities say that only 1/3 rd of India have access to proper sanitation.
These are just a few facts. If one start digging through , there is only gloom. And if we look the other side, Dharvi the Aisa’s biggest slum , slums in every known city of India are there stinking in poverty.
The slums instead of all measures to convert are expanding. Expanding because of the heavy migration to cities. Under the mask of globilzation, cities spread in an uncontrolled fashion, resulting in a mixed unusual topography. The sphere of influence of cities expanded without limits. The vagaries of monsoon combined with impact of climate change , plunder the rural lives every year. So eventually these people wander into the chaotic urban lives and finally settle down in the rejected areas. Scavenging the dirt of urban life they become part of urbanization, becoming unaware that there situation further deteriorated. No education for children, high room density, no sanitation , the woes are many. But they have no other place to go for. Politicians, babus all speak of four/eight lane highways, IT parks , SEZs but what about the slums just beside them. No politician ever speak any agenda of Slums uplift.
First the Slums growth should be stopped from the root. For this the rural communities should be fortified. The self employment schemes, irrigation facilities – a small investment made in these sectors have many multiplying affects. The Bharat Nirman program, The National Rural Employment Guarantee schemes are really bold steps in this direction. The water management works had been given prime position in these schemes. More than 50% of Indian agriculture and this is the major employer, taking the labor intensity. In many parts of our country ground water resources are being utilized at an unsustainable rate and these sort of schemes in water harvesting are the need of the hour. It is the time to involve people into administration more. It is the time when local leaders(in real terms) are required. Proper technical knowledge should reach the unskilled labor who is working in the field. There has to be a constant mingling of the administration and the people. Indian has the largest collection of remote sensing satellites. The data that is collected from these satellites, should be thoroughly scrutinized and proper advice to be given from time to time. Technical schools must come up in rural areas with diversified fields. It is the time to pump investment to rural areas in this wake of recession. Our core market values should be stabilized.
Our bail out stimulus packages should be more focused at rural areas. They have to be developed as growth centers. The migration from rural to urban areas is a mammoth danger which will lash out, if not controlled. Our nation’s growth is haphazard, we focus more on building structures rather questioning it’s relevance. We need IT parks, we need BPO’s we need multiplexes. But that it is not all that we need. We need food we need water we need sanitation we need education.
Else the Slumdogs.. the white tigers… just like a new species in a zoo attract visitors and audience.