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Old 18th February 2012, 11:10   #1
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Default Living on India's average income for a month

Read this in Hindu (Feb 11 2012). Thought of sharing it.

The Hindu : Source & Full Article

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Can anyone really live on Rs. 26 a day, the income of the officially poor in rural India? Two youngsters try it out.


Late last year, two young men decided to live a month of their lives on the income of an average poor Indian. One of them, Tushar, the son of a police officer in Haryana, studied at the University of Pennsylvania and worked for three years as an investment banker in the US and Singapore. The other, Matt, migrated as a teenager to the States with his parents, and studied in MIT. Both decided at different points to return to India, joined the UID Project in Bengaluru, came to share a flat, and became close friends.

The idea suddenly struck them one day. Both had returned to India in the vague hope that they could be of use to their country. But they knew the people of this land so little. Tushar suggested one evening — “Let us try to understand an ‘average Indian', by living on an ‘average income'.” His friend Matt was immediately captured by the idea. They began a journey which would change them forever.

To begin with, what was the average income of an Indian? They calculated that India's Mean National Income was Rs. 4,500 a month, or Rs. 150 a day. Globally people spend about a third of their incomes on rent. Excluding rent, they decided to spend Rs. 100 each a day. They realised that this did not make them poor, only average. Seventy-five per cent Indians live on less than this average.

Last edited by GTO : 18th February 2012 at 15:45. Reason: Keeping fair usage practices in mind, it is best to include an excerpt + link to full article
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Old 18th February 2012, 12:10   #2
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Default Re: Living on India's average income for a month

The reality is much more harsh.

Factor in clothes and any medical bill and there is no way one can live on Rs26 a day. However this Rs26 is absolute rubbish. Begging is much more lucrative, so how is that anyone earns just 26?

I know it is the amount of money spent but let us not take it as rest of money is saved.

Who is to blame if a criminal mentality gets into them?

High time govt gets into providing food shelters where the needy are provided bare basic food so as to keep themselves alive. Think of all the money these politicians pocket, will God ever forgive them? What use is paying tax, when a huge chunk goes into filling their pockets and not a penny for the needy.
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Old 18th February 2012, 12:41   #3
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It's this stark poverty that makes us do what we do. Study and educate our kids for a brighter future. When I see TV channels and see fellow human beings abroad do stunts and get injured and laid up for a year and more and again repeat them. I think, can we afford that sort of luxury? Would it be worth all the trouble all for a momentary 'adrenalin' rush? We are a nation of 1.2 billion yet it was only since the last Olympics did we get a taste of a 'Gold' medal, why? Because there's no way one can make a livelihood from sport, so it's neither encouraged nor pursued by many. For every Sachin/Dhoni there are many millions who don't get a mention and income to make ends meet from sport. I agree with the above mentioned youngsters in that article when they say that they can't 'afford' to fall ill (physically or mentally). Of late poverty is become 'starker' since India is 'shining' one side with people getting to see 'Antilia's' one side and 'Dharavi' on the other and friction comes from the 'fragile' coexistence of the two worlds and we get caught in between. No Savior or Mahatma can set right this 'reality show' that plays out on the streets around us.

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Old 18th February 2012, 12:52   #4
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@ Altolxi, thanks for sharing this article, it is a real eye opener, though many of us know the conditions of the poor, we choose to ignore it, even as I sit and type this, I am actually thinking "in what way will I contribute" I admit, although with a hint of shame, that I may soon forget I read this and lead my "normal" life, but I hope I remember this article, every time I feel like buying something out of impulse and dining out without reason. Maybe I will stop myself from splurging, but then, how does one know, for every penny we desist from spending, will that penny add to that number 26?
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Old 18th February 2012, 14:09   #5
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Living on Rs 32 per day is tough, but the solution to that problem is NOT new schemes such as food subsidies or NREGA. The solution is creating an environment where entrepreneurs are encouraged to invest in labor intensive industries - viz one with limited regulation, low taxes, low exit barriers. In an attempt to protect the labor aristocracy in the organized sector and government, job creation has been given a short shrift. Its 50 years of stalinism and excessive regulation that is the cause of poverty in India. And please don't feel guilty about eating good meals, that helps create jobs
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Old 18th February 2012, 14:15   #6
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And here is their blog, really interesting account of their day-to-day experiences!

Rs100aday | Two friends trying to bring to light the concerns of the average Indian through firsthand experiences
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Old 19th February 2012, 12:28   #7
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Is the Rs.26 per day for a family or per person?
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Old 19th February 2012, 15:42   #8
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It is per person. That makes it around Rs. 3,000 - Rs. 4,000 per month per family. Seems fair in my opinion.
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Old 19th February 2012, 15:59   #9
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Yes, for a family of 4 in a remote village, 3k per month is not extremely bad. But,

1. They cannot afford higher education/professional courses.
2. Medicine beyond normal cold and cough will be very difficult to afford.
3. Buying anything apart from basic necessities will be out of reach.
4. Good nutrition is out of reach. But they won't be malnutritioned either.
5. This also has to include addictions. I guess some villagers spend a sizeable income on these.

But.. 26 per day per person is just the average. Which means there are people will are living at 12-15 per day per person. Their situation is real bad IMO.

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Old 19th February 2012, 17:22   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
And please don't feel guilty about eating good meals, that helps create jobs
Very true. Jobs gives money to people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
Maybe I will stop myself from splurging, but then, how does one know, for every penny we desist from spending, will that penny add to that number 26?
If you stop spending that number will go down from 26. One way you can help that number go higher is to buy services & products produced from low income people.
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Old 23rd August 2012, 16:07   #11
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Lets first understand economics. If say from tomorrow each and every Indian earns a minimum of Rs 100/day, what will happen? Will everyone become rich? will poverty, hunger be eliminated? Sorry NO. Only thing which will happen is value of Rupee will fall. Rs100 will be equal to current Rs 32 or whatever is the poverty benchmark today. Conditions will still remain same. Only way to reduce poverty is to increase development, help reducing food and good prices, better manufacturing, higher education etc. We have progressed rapidly in the past 2 decades and slowly we will get there.
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Old 26th August 2012, 11:19   #12
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Perhaps what we ought to do is help in increasing the standard of living. Many rural communities have moved from wood stoves to LPG stoves. Employment for the hired hands is no longer in shortage because of the construction activities and they are in a position to demand Rs.200 per day or higher (though it has a negative effect on agriculture). When work is plenty, the government can afford to introduce mechanization for the menial jobs that were performed manually. Mechanization is perhaps the first step to improving the standard of living (though, arguably, we'd then have an obese population but that is besides the point of this discussion).
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