Indian initiative on achieving the Millennium Development Goals largely appears to be target driven efforts. Whether it is removing poverty or reducing mortality rates, government machinery appears to be happy collecting relevant data that reinforces progress.
The truth of the matter is: the various targets are inter related with poverty lying at the core. Being poor is the root cause of every conceivable misery in Indian society – can’t access education, food, healthcare and remain trapped in the vicious cycle feeding on poverty. The worst pain of being poor is that one loses social dignity and turns into a no-entity.
The so called economic liberalization in India does not even consider the “Poor India”. It is only concerned with the rich and influentials – those who are already empowered. And if the benefits of liberalization ever reaches the remotest corners of Indian countryside, it is only in the form of fancy mobile phones, media discussing issues that are hardly relevant for them, toilet soaps and detergent powders.
It does not require much grey matter to understand that all these don’t remove poverty. When tribals lose their land (along with all its ecological treasures) to mega corporate houses who have suddenly become interested in their land to make fortune for themselves, it does not remove their poverty – in fact, it makes their lives as displaced and exploited sub human beings, more miserable and less meaningful.
Should the poor Indians be seen only as lucrative consumers by the already rich and powerful sitting in the cozy mansions of metropolitan cities? Or should there be some mechanism to assure them the benefits of government schemes designed to provide them the meals they need to survive?
Government babus are well trained to defeat the purpose of government services, either through sheer callousness or collusion with vested interests. But what about corporate – social responsibility? And what about the media – social responsibility? Should they merely serve the cause of celebrities, controversial public figures, and power holders?