Since, the time of Indira Gandhi, we have been hearing that the Govt is working for the poor. Indiraji gave her famous slogan “Garibi Hatao”. Fifty years have passed, but still we have many Indians who are terminally poor. China has pulled out all/most terminally poor people within last few decades. Same for South Korea, Singapore. Had the so called “pro-poor” leaders been so concerned about poor, poverty would have been wiped out long back.

Hence, it is clear that the same leaders keep giving the slogan, but have not taken steps for eliminating poverty on a long term basis. Why? I can think of the following reasons:

  1. Poverty gives these leaders means for devising schemes for poor. But, please note, all the schemes for poverty alleviation are mired with rampant corruption. By an estimate around 70% of the subsidy money is siphoned off. If the poverty vanishes, then how those people would get a chance to loot the tax payers money?
  2. Had 30% of the subsidy amount been diverted for education for last 20 years, the extreme poverty would have been wiped out. But, that was not done. Why? If poverty is eliminated, then people would become literate, so the technique of throwing some “freebie” schemes during elections and coming back to power wont work, as people would vote sensibly.
  3. If the people are moved out of poverty, then they will become literate and hence would question the corruption, nepotism and dynasty which many leaders don’ want. Probably, Indiraji foresee this happening, and tried to create a family based dictatorship by imposing emergency, but was not successful.
  4. We hear lot of politicians speaking about farmers. Believe me, the farmers are the most exploited class in the nation. When potato was selling at Rs. 40/- the farmers in Bengal were selling at Rs2/- per kg. The income from the loot helped many political parties flourish. If the farmers are pulled out of poverty, they cannot be exploited and ask questions.

Hence, I am not surprised when Congress and others speak about the poor. A real wel-wisher of the poor would follow the principle of “Give a man a fish, he will have one meal, but teach him fishing, he will have food for lifetime.

It is therefore important, we realize the crocodile tears being shed in the name of the poor.

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