Ultimately, a strong political will among its leaders should be the ultimate solution to the problem. The country could take lessons from other Asian countries that have made a dramatic turnaround. There is the case of South Korea, for example, which was also plagued with the same problems in the 1970s and 1980s (Heo & Roehrig, 2010, 35). A succession of strong governments that instituted reforms was able to address the problems that prevented its economy from finally taking off. India has a considerable population and its experience may be a little different.
The reforms could be more difficult to achieve and that results may be gradual, but all these depend on the political leadership, which has the capability to see them through. Finally, it is also important to emphasize the need for a better classification of poverty levels. There is a tendency to focus on the poverty line; that the critical level is the one below the demarcation. Governments tend to emphasize this to sugarcoat its own economic performance. The less the segment classified as poor, the better it is able to trumpet economic development, which is an excellent political propaganda material.
Politicians in power could fall into this trap and help further aggravate the situation because this, of course, contributes to an inappropriate response. It leads everyone to a false sense of development, eliminating an opportunity to institute meaningful policies and target those people who are in dire need of help. India’ s human development indicators reveal that those living just above the poverty level are also at risk. It is also quite probable that the line would be blurred as people belonging to this segment could slip up and down in poverty levels.
There is, however, an underlying variable in the poverty issue. When the poverty level is determined, the criteria must include those that are appropriate in the case of India. To put it another way, one should not forget to view poverty in the context of the Indian experience.
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