From poverty to empowerment: India's imperative for jobs, growth, and effective basic services

From poverty to empowerment: India's imperative for jobs, growth, and effective basic services


February 2014

Long considered an immutable fact of life in India, extreme poverty is finally in retreat. India launched its first wave of economic reforms in the early 1990s, resulting in a decline in the official poverty ratio from 45 percent in 1994 to 37 percent in 2005. Over the next seven years, a period in which India achieved the fastest rate of economic growth in its history and also implemented a number of policies aimed at helping the poor, extreme poverty declined rapidly to 22 percent of the population, or some 270 million people. This is an achievement to be celebrated?and yet now is an opportune time to set higher aspirations. The government?s poverty line sets a fair benchmark for extreme poverty, but it counts only those living in the most abject conditions. Even a cursory scan of India?s human development indicators suggests more widespread deprivation in terms of quality of life and access to basic services. Above and beyond the goal of eradicating extreme poverty, India can address these issues and create a new national vision for helping more than half a billion people build a more economically empowered life.

Keywords: Asia Pacific, India, Poverty, Economy, Government, People, Gap, Service, Governance, Growth

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