Poverty and Healthcare


Recently a friend’s son was hit by a bout of fever. When my friend called me and explained the symptoms, I have immediately advised to start him on a course of anti malarial medicine and the kid recovered in no time. The whole episode costed my friend very little – no hospitalization, no trauma associated with long illness or anything of such sort.

Employment, Poverty and Productivity

The impact of economic liberalization on poverty levels in the country has been vigorously debated by economists and politicians over the years. The data seems inconclusive, and scholars often seem to arrive at conclusions suspiciously close to their own ideological proclivities. The broad consensus appears to be that poverty is declining; it is difficult to conclude that all the decline in poverty is attributable to liberalization and rapid growth; and the decline in poverty is less than what the free market enthusiasts hoped.

Crossing the Rubicon – Tamil Nadu Style

In a democracy, elections are not merely about choosing representatives and deciding which party should be entrusted with the responsibility for governance.  Elections are also about political education and determining priorities for the future. But over the decades, most parties in India have failed to utilize elections as a means of mobilizing public opinion to obtain a mandate for meaningful change.  Instead, elections have become a way of determining who will rule.

Justice, Rights and Poverty


The history of the past century taught us that individual initiative, free enterprise, and fair competition are the best guarantors of wealth-creation. However, markets alone cannot promote growth unless the state creates conditions for stability and harmony, and ensures creation of public goods and the necessary infrastructure.  Infrastructure at least is talked about, but harmony is ignored.

Competing Strategies for Combating Poverty

The greatest challenge before India today is combating mass poverty and making lives of ordinary people bearable.  If dignity is denied to an Indian in 2004 AD, and people are forced to be hungry even as foodgrains are rotting in warehouses, then that is unacceptable.  If in 21st century poor Indians suffer in monsoon from torrents of rain for want of shelter over their heads, or shiver in cold, then that is a disgrace to our republic.

Migration and Squalor - Crisis in Mumbai

Mumbai, India’s premier city, and the nation’s financial and industrial capital is going through a crisis. The population of the city is growing at 4.5 percent per annum. Predictably, most growth is by migration from poor, rural areas. In 1960, squatters were estimated to be less than 4 lakhs in a population of 4.5 million. By 1980, their number rose to 4.5 million in a population of 9 million. Greater Mumbai is now the sixth largest mega city in the world, with 16.4 million population.

Crisis of Confidence

While the world revels in finding a solution to every problem, we relish in identifying a problem for every solution.

Poverty not cause of problems but result of misgovernance

EXCLUDING the local governments’ expenditure and inter-governmental adjustments, the combined total expenditure of the Union and state governments, according to the Budget estimates for 1999-2000, is a whopping Rs 524,000 crore.

The actual expenditure was in excess of Rs 550,000 crore. Judging by past experience, next year it could well be Rs 600,000 crore. This amounts to Rs 1,644 crore a day, or in terms of purchasing power it is equivalent to $2 billion a day!

Medieval Social Attitude and Modern Economy

The chief concern of an average urban middle-class housewife is her child’s admission to a prestigious private English medium school, or her inability to get cheap hired domestic help, preferably a child worker. Six years ago RK Laxman drew an insightful cartoon that depicts our society. Two boys – one healthy, standing erect in school uniform; the other weak, ill-clad and groaning under the weight of a load of books and lunch box with two ladies looking on. The mother of the uniformed child tells her companion, “It’s really cruel burdening the kids like this!