Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Child Poverty in India

In 2001 Ann and I achieved a long held ambition to visit India. We travelled first to Delhi and then went on the “triangle” visiting, amongst other places, the beautiful Taj Mahal. We stayed in quite luxurious hotels including one which had been a  Maharaja’s palace. We saw the new estate on the outskirts of New Delhi where all the banks have skyscrapers and there are lovely apartments for the people who work in them. Contrast that with the frequent abject poverty we witnessed.

India is a place of contrasts from the beautiful palaces of the Mahajas to the hovels of many of the people, from the limousines and top of the range cars to the three or four people attempting to travel on a moped. To the superb restaurants and hotels to the free food offered every evening by the Sikh's and Hindu’s to all who need food. Along many main roads are encampments of people living under sheets of plastic or w.h.y.

Interestingly there are more millionaires in India that in the UK. and what was once a very poor third world country is now flourishing financially. It is now an offence under Indian Law to give money to beggars who litter the streets everywhere you visit. Some have very badly damaged bodies which have been badly mutilated by relatives as this will make them better beggars! On one occasion alighting from a coach on which we were travelling we were surrounded by children. We initially thought they were asking for money but in fact they wanted ball point pens!

I suppose the worse thing you experience in India is child poverty- something we also saw quite a lot of in China. Many children live on rubbish tips making what ever money they can by recycling items thrown away by the public. Over 50,000 children are abandoned in the country every year. 11 million children live on the streets and there are more than 44 million child labourers in India in all.

India is a beautiful country and one I hope to visit again in the future. I really hope that something can be done to eradicate the child poverty so much in evidence. There is something very strange about observing the wealth and seeing the poverty in such close proximity. God bless India.

1 comment:

  1. If governments like ours feel compelled to demonstrate their "consciences" by policies of overseas aid, then it is imperative that they aid only very carefully examined and supervised projects directed at resolving problems of this kind, and on the basis of supporting programmes funded primarily by the Indian government.

    This could be done by a requirement for that government to contribute, say, at least four times the UK contribution. A country that has so many millionaires (including ex-pats), spends so much on defence (in understandably difficult local circumstances) and funds nuclear development programmes should be doing far more to resolve its social problems.