The Paradox of Contemporary IndiaPresentation Transcript
The Paradox of Contemporary India Nancy Maguire Teacher, Cornwall High School Participant, Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad http://www.cornwallschools.com/webpages/nmaguire
India is a nation of contrast.
There is great cultural diversity.
There is religious diversity
And today, there is great disparity of wealth.
The entertainment industry is vibrant.
Elegant Shops are filled with luxury items
Luxury hotels host foreign businessmen
Comfortable homes grace every city
Private Boarding Schools and Colleges are available for those who can pay.
In reality, comfort and affluence coexist with poverty so seamlessly, that it seems to go unnoticed….
The energy needed to fuel the engine of profit has left its imprint. Industrial and air pollution are major health threats.
Since the 2009 “Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act” all India children should expect access to free, public education.
10 million children of primary age are not enrolled in school and 99% of India ’s poorest Dalit children are enrolled in schools that lack basic infrastructure, teachers, and teaching aids.
India boasts an energetic service economy that has bred the growth of a new middle class. Many question how accessible that middle class is.
In reality, the wealth amassed by India ’s 49 billionaires according to Forbes Magazine, accounts for 31% of India’s total GDP. www. wsws.org
On October 23, 2010, the New York Times reported the growing wealth of small cities like Aurangabad.
But in the same city where 150 businessmen recently bought brand new luxury Mercedes to the tune of $15 million,
Cotton farmers assume huge debt to stay in business and are often driven to suicide.
Dharavi Slum Recycling
In cities and Dalit villages, most households survive on less than a dollar a day. Over 199 Dalits die from inhaling toxic gases or drowning in excrement each year. Only 20% of Dalits have access to water. Only 10% of Dalit households have access to sanitation facilities.
Despite India ’s vibrant economic growth, a recent Oxford Study on Poverty and Human Development found that the 8 poorest states in India contain more poor people than 26 of the poorest African nations combined. India has a poverty rate of 55% “Changing Poverty’s Parameters, NY Times, August 12, 2010
It is true that the United Nations is working with NGO ’s to provide microloans designed to help enterprising villagers become independent.
But one has to wonder why, in a nation that is 70% rural, access to food is a problem.
Food prices have risen 83%.
35% of the population consumes less than 80% of their total energy requirement.
1.5 million children suffer from malnutrition
61 million children in India are stunted as a result of inadequate diet and health care.
Depending on wealth, education, and social class, children in India know very different existences.
Article 7 of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child require that all children are to be registered immediately after birth. But according to UNICEF, an estimated 26 million children are born and about half of them go unregistered.