Five decades since former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, grandmother of Rahul Gandhi promised to end poverty with ‘Garibi Hatao’ (eradicate poverty), no major changes have happened on the lives of the poor even after being in power for most of these five decades. However, Rahul Gandhi is still promising to ‘end poverty’ if at all Congress comes to power in 2019.
Addressing a rally at Moga, Punjab, Rahul Gandhi, just like his father Rajiv Gandhi and grandmother Indira Gandhi, declared that their party will end poverty once he comes to power. Rahul Gandhi also claimed that poverty has increased after the Narendra Modi government came to power.
“Hindustan main jo Narendra Modi ji ne garibi badhai hai, jin logon ko berozgaar kiya hai, hum Hindustan se garibi ko mita denge,” said Rahul Gandhi.
Interestingly, however, despite Congress being in power for most of the period in these five decades, they could not bring much change on the ground. Rahul Gandhi today once again resorted to false claims about the increasing level of poverty in the country since Modi came to power after the scam-ridden ten years of UPA. But, in reality, Narendra Modi led government has been phenomenal with respect to targetting poverty through their various poverty alleviation programmes.
Human development is often considered to be the most basic premise to tackle the socio-economic issue of poverty. As poverty alleviation programmes directly target the livelihood of the poor people of the country, the transformations are often visible through the change in social indicators of the poor. Interestingly, Human Development Indicators of the country have seen a rise in the country since 2014 contrary to the claims of Rahul Gandhi, who often says otherwise.
The United Nations Development Programme which releases the Human Development Index, which ranks countries based on a few socio-economic indicators suggests that India has experienced growth in social indicators post-2014 after Narendra Modi came into power.
According to the Human Developmental Index, a composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, India was ranked at 135 with a score of 0.586 in 2013 i.e during the UPA days, while it improved 5 positions to reach 130 with a score of 0.640 at the end of 2018. The Life Expectancy of the country has also raised from 66.4 years in 2013 to 68.8, an increase in 2.4 years by the end of 2018, which indicates that health indicators of Indians are indeed improving.
The Mean years of schooling and the expected years of schooling indices are also on the rise indicating the growth of standard in the social indicators of the country, which has a bearing on fighting poverty. The mean years of schooling have increased to 6.4 years from 4.4 years in 2013, while expected years of schooling has increased from 11.7 years in 2013 to 12.3 years in 2018. The per capita income of the country has also seen a rise from $5150 in 2013 to a 20 per cent growth to $6353 in 2018.
In 2018, 5 crore people had been lifted out of poverty since the Prime Minister came to power.
The data suggest that the socially disadvantaged groups in these states are starting to share benefits of the process of human development leading to direct targeting of poverty. The data also suggest that there was growth in not the only economic well being of the poor but also they had received better social benefits with respect to Health and Education.
Rahul Gandhi, the scion of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty seems to be banking on the legacy of the family to create a new political narrative to defeat the Narendra Modi government. With just months left for general elections, it is expected that Congress President Rahul Gandhi will resort to further lies and false narratives to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.