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    » 07/14/2010, 00.00

    INDIA

    Eight Indian states are poorer than 26 African countries put together

    Santosh Digal

    According to a new UN index for measuring poverty, more than 421 million poor people in the eight Indian states, including Orissa, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, compared with 410 million of 26 African countries, like Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Niger and Somalia. The new measure takes into account not only per capita income but also access to resources, education and medical care. For the Indian Church a major cause of poverty is the corruption of local governments and the indiscriminate exploitation of resources to the detriment of the population.

    New Delhi (AsiaNews) - In eight states in India the number of poor is higher than that of the 26 most underdeveloped countries in Africa. This data has been revealed by the multidimensional poverty index (MPI), a new index for measuring poverty, created by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) in collaboration with the UN. According to the MPI there are over 421 million poor in the Indian states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, versus 410 million recorded in the 26 African countries like Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Niger and Somalia.

    The new index uses 10 variables such as access to fuels and electricity and also takes into account the quality of food, school and health care, in contrast to the previous indices based mainly on family income. The aim is to find development solutions for each country to address the needs of the population.

    In India, a major factor of poverty is high level corruption in the public and private sectors. To attract foreign investment, local governments allow indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources to the detriment of the population, which is often forced to abandon their land to make way for industries.

    Fr. Udanayath Bishoy, a social worker in Orissa, affirms: "In most cases, the government does not care about the development of Dalits and tribals, who constitute the largest portion of the poor of India".  According to the priest, the authorities are making significant concessions to the industries that prey on the land under the pretext of the development of depressed areas.

    "They do not allow local industries to participate in the planning – he continues- and this only adds to the corruption and poverty." "Those who pursue this policy get rich - he adds- while the population grows poorer because no one is seriously interested in the people's real needs. Local politicians back development projects that only favour the companies and which lack transparency".  In May, the Prime Minister of Orissa, Naveen Patnaik, guaranteed the federal government and the South Korean steel giant 'Posco' the use of over 4 thousand acres of land, forcing thousands to abandon their homes and fields. The local church was the only one to take up the farmers cause and urged politicians to rethink the logic of exploitation and expropriation of land, saving that land which is productive.

     

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    See also

    16/08/2007 INDIA
    Indian Church wants farmers to be “at the core of development”
    Optimism and India’s progress take centre stage in Prime Minister Singh’s speech commemorating 60 years of independence. Church official complains that the development model adopted by the government is too city-centred and inadequate for rural areas.

    24/07/2014 INDIA
    Fr Nithya: Hunger and extreme poverty hinder human development in India
    Fr Nithya OFM talks to AsiaNews about the 2014 Human Development Report. Based on the Index of Human Development, the studies ranks India 135th out of 187 countries. For the clergyman, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic promises "mock the poor and the marginalised."

    06/02/2007 INDIA
    Caritas to tackle tragedy of suicides among farmers
    The Indian Church is committed to bringing down the number of farmers who kill themselves because they are in debt. From today, a national conference will discuss ways and means of applying a program "Save Farmers-Save India". Attention is focused on Maharashtra: there have been at least 962 suicides in five months.

    02/04/2007 INDIA
    Women survivors of the tsunami are the greatest victims of discrimination
    A report published in New Delhi condemns the tragic situation of women in countries hit by the 2004 killer wave: domestic violence, unemployment, lack of government aid, induction to prostitution and forced to sell their organs are just some of the problems highlighted. An appeal for local authority intervention.

    17/05/2007 CHINA – AFRICA
    China and Africa to develop together without neo-colonial relations
    For the first time Beijing is concerned about Africa’s crises and the Darfur genocide. But trade remains its main focus. African states want to improve trade relations with China and Asia but do not want to be exploited.



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