Monday, January 30, 2006



"The World Bank's definition of the poverty line for under developed countries is US$ 1/day/person or US $365 per year. As per this definition, more than 75% of all Indians are, probably, below the poverty line. As per the Government of India, poverty line for the urban areas is Rs. 296 per month and for rural areas Rs. 276 per month."

What surprised me was not the level of poverty which is regularly reported in the media.

What surprised me was that people seem to find natural to beg. In the West, people ask for money with humility, almost embarrassment. There was none of that in India.

Beggars will often go as far as following you or even touching you. The best way to make them leave is to  ignore their behaviour. If you decide to give away a few rupees, it is preferable to do so just before leaving a place. By doing it before, you will undoubtedly attract additional beggars.

Long term help

I can't deny that it is impressing to see starving/dying people on the street. While giving a bit of money on the spot can be viewed as a quick solution, donating to charities or volunteering for an NGO would provide a  much needed long-term help. 

As I wrote in a previous post, some of the many NGO's active in India still lack credibility and efficient structures. Further improvements have to be made but on the long run NGO’s will make India a better place to live for millions of people!

A list of NGO's can be found here.


Anonymous said...

learn hindi! i am sure you would do a wonderful job in an NGO. Take care of yourself and keep in touch...

vishal said...

hmm forgot to write my name in the post below

dazedandconfused said...

I think the World Bank definition is mapped to the purchasing power parity of India which results in the Indian Govt. definition. I think, according to the Indian govt., there are now less than 35% below the poverty line. But you are right about one thing.
Poverty is an accepted part of life in India, both for people in it and for people who see it everyday. And that is sad.

Anonymous said...

I think you can call India a Beggar country as 90 % of people live in poverty

kerala india said...

Looks with full of expectation.
Kerlal India
Goa India
Shimla India
Agra India
Tour India