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David Cameron lectures India on poverty, forgets that his own country has 18% absolute poverty and 11% cannot even afford to heat their homes

Lecturing India on poverty, he said, "In terms of meeting the sustainable development goals, the most important thing India can do is to continue to grow and lift people out of poverty"

India will enter into its 78th year of independence on 15th August 2024. But the English don’t seem to have moved on from their “white man’s burden”. UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron while replying to questions on India in the Parliament on Thursday (18th April) said that India needs to grow and pull people out of poverty.

Lecturing India on poverty, he said, “In terms of meeting the sustainable development goals, the most important thing India can do is to continue to grow and lift people out of poverty. Because there are still…I think it’s true to say…more people in India are below the poverty line than there are in sub-Saharan Africa. The need for India to grow and pull people out of poverty is very great.”

But data exposes just how ironic it is for the former British Prime Minister to tutor India when his own country is falling apart both economically, culturally and politically. Before we proceed to that, here’s the truth about India which the English have chosen to ignore.

How India is fighting against poverty

US think tank Brookings released a report in March this year annoucing that India has now officially eliminated ‘extreme poverty’, which can be seen through the sharp decline in headcount poverty ratio and stark increase in household consumption.

The report stated that this has resulted from the government’s strong policy thrust on redistribution, which has led to strong inclusive growth in India over the last decade.

According to government data, 24.82 crore people escaped multidimensional poverty in the last nine years. India has registered a significant decline in multidimensional poverty in India from 29.17% in 2013-14 to 11.28% in 2022-23 i.e. a reduction of 17.89 percentage points.

Uttar Pradesh registered the largest decline in the number of poor with 5.94 crore people escaping multidimensional poverty during the last nine years followed by Bihar at 3.77 crore, Madhya Pradesh at 2.30 crore and Rajasthan at 1.87 crore.

Data also shows that the pace of decline in poverty headcount ratio using exponential method was much faster between 2015-16 to 2019-21 (10.66% annual rate of decline) compared to period 2005-06 to 2015-16 (7.69% annual rate of decline).

As a result, India is likely to achieve its SDG target of halving multidimensional poverty well before 2030.

Moreover, over the past ten to eleven years, the economic gap between the village and the metropolis has narrowed.

The survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) revealed that people dwelling in villages now spend the same amount of money as those living in cities. People’s spending on other items has risen during this period, while their food expenses have declined. The nation’s rate of poverty has also gone down over this period.

Poverty in United Kingdom

According to recent data, 11.4 million people (17%) are in relative low income before housing costs and 14.3 million (21%) are in relative low income after housing costs in 2022/23.

9.5 million people (14%) are in absolute low income before housing costs and 12.0 million (18%) are in absolute low income after housing costs.

Moreover, England is reeling under rising cases of children in poverty. 3.2 million children (22%) are in relative low income before housing costs and 4.3 million (30%) are in relative low income after housing costs in 2022/23. This is the highest level of child poverty after housing costs since
HBAI records began in 1994/95.

2.6 million (18%) children are in absolute low income before housing costs and 3.6 million (25%) are in absolute low income after housing costs.

Additionally, 6.0 million working age adults (15%) are in relative low income before housing costs and 8.1 million (20%) are in relative low income after housing
costs in 2021/22.

5.1 million working age adults (12%) are in absolute low income before housing costs and 6.9 million (17%) are in absolute low income after housing costs.

Moreover, while 8% of 8% of UK citizens are suffering insecurity, a mere 11% are unable to heat their homes.

Sharing the same data, Russia Today (India) put out a post on X that ended with the words, “People in cold, unheated glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?”

However, Cameron did not stop at lecturing in India. He also raked up sensitive issues concerning India’s internal security just a day before the first phase of Lok Sabha elections.

Cameron said that there is a religious part to the strife in Manipur. “It is right to say that we should now downplay the religious aspects of some of this strife. Yes, sometimes it is communal, tribal or ethnic, but in many cases there is a clear religious part of it,” he said.

This is a typical attempt by the English to capitalise on the internal matters of a developing nation. This even as UK is jam-packed with Islamists wreaking havoc on its streets.

Unwilling and unable to fight Pakistani grooming gangs for the fear of being tagged as racists, responsible to a significant extent for the formation of Pakistan, embroiled in economic crisis, funding crisis in the NHS leading to lack of medical infrastructure, rising cost of living, unaffordable housing and an alarming rise in crime rate is just some of the problem that the UK is laced with.

But the Tory leader is worried about whether religious tolerance in India meets his expectations.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Journalist with a journey from print to TV to digital news. Multi-tasker. Unstoppable Type 1 Diabetic running on insulin.

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