Having seen poverty in its worst form, I explore the topic of poverty quite frequently as the list of my articles would reveal.
India has 269 million people (21 percent of the total population) under the poverty line, as per the latest official headcount of the poor in India. It used to be 396 million (29 percent) prior to the announcement of new counting in June 1024.
However, the World Bank recently estimated Indian poverty to be 172 million (12.4 percent), based on its new poverty line of $1.90 per person per day using the new 2011 purchasing power parity (PPP) data. This is a measure of extreme poverty. (The World Bank revised its poverty line in October in 2015 to $1.90 a day from the earlier $1.25 a day.)
In 1947, when the colonial British left India, they left 70 percent of Indians in deep poverty with a tiny elite class that controlled everything. Over six decades later in 2011-2012, poverty is down to 21 percent despite the multifold increase in population. However, despite the significant progress, even 21 percent poverty means a huge headcount in a country of 1.3 billion people.
You may like to know that the World Bank has set the target of bringing down the global extreme poverty to less than 3 percent by 2030. The global community is now also duty-bound to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which provides a holistic global development agenda, particularly for the poor countries.
World Poverty Clock
The progress towards the aim of global poverty elimination (SDG 1) is estimated through the World Poverty Clock in real time. A Brookings study published in June 2018 gives a highly optimistic status of Indian poverty. It says that now Nigeria is home to the largest number of global poor, not India! At the end of May 2018, 87 million people lived in extreme poverty compared with 73 million in India. Moreover, it also estimated that around 44 Indians come out of extreme poverty every minute, while Nigeria pushes 6 people into extreme poverty each minute. (The measure of extreme poverty is World Bank's $1.9 per day yardstick.)
A word of caution: Be cautious with various reports because they might use data from quite different sources and their poverty definitions may differ significantly.
Multidimensional Poverty Perspective
There is a more comprehensive way to measure poverty, through the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). It is a joint venture of UK-based Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Its 2017 report estimated India’s poverty at 41 percent (528 million).
Note that various dimensions of the MPI are connected with the SDGs. Thus, progress in SDGs can be suitably monitored through the MPI data.
While there can never be agreement on poverty numbers, compare these numbers with the European Union and US populations of 500 million and 320 million, respectively.
The mammoth Indian poverty is a delight for poverty experts for playing the game of poverty line and counting the poor!
Due to its very large population, India holds the distinction of having the highest number of poor in the world – a super poor nation! Consequently, South Asia has become the world’s biggest center of extreme poverty, followed by sub-Saharan Africa.
In both regions, the MPI estimates higher poverty than calculated by the one-dimensional income poverty line ($1.90 a day) of the World Bank. In South Asia, the MPI reveals 41.6% percent poverty compared with 19.2 percent from the WB’s income indicator. For sub-Saharan Africa, these figures are 60.1 percent and 46.4 percent, respectively.
Poverty Is Inherently Multidimensional
Wise people say: Poverty is easy to spot, but hard to define.
The income based one dimensional poverty line of the World Bank fails to reflect the hardships faced by the poor. It gives only headcount. A life in poverty means living deprived of sufficient food and nutrition, education, proper shelter, sanitation, clean water and so on. This points to the need of seeing poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon. The way MPI is constructed it offers a useful breakup of various deprivations faced by the poor as if poverty is being looked through a microscope.
The MPI is founded on the capability approach of Amartya Sen. According to Amartya Sen, rather than measuring poverty by income level, it is more appropriate to explore how much people can achieve with that income, considering the fact that such achievements will vary from one individual to another and from one place to another. What people can do or be is the most fundamental yardstick of people’s well-being because same level of income (resource) translate into different levels of doing or being, and also because there are non-material factors that also affect people’s capability to do or be.
Poverty is capability deprivation. It results from failure of basic capabilities that are critical to a person's well-being. The approach links 'poverty to the failure of the ability to achieve precisely those things that are ultimately important'. A response to poverty then, is about the expansion of choices and capabilities that people can have in order to lead lives they value.
Major Factors Behind India’s Poverty
Here, we will discuss major factors that led to deeply entrenched poverty in India. Given the multitude of languages, customs, cultures and castes in India, these factors are further intertwined. Here we highlight 8 important reasons for high poverty in India. However, one message is very clear: One has to look at poverty, beyond income.
1. Social Inequality Leading to Exclusion and Marginalization
Societies cannot progress if certain sections of people are left-out simply because they happen to be from the “wrong” class, caste, ethnic group, race or sex. If the virus of color and race based discrimination has damaged the social set up of many countries in the West, the bacteria of “caste” division has undermined the cohesive social fabric of India. Lower caste people have traditionally been excluded from the mainstream society governed by the so-called upper caste communities. They have historically lived isolated in the periphery of the villages and townships and subsisted doing only those tasks considered “unfit” for the other castes. Their un-touchability can be considered the worst form of rejection by the mainstream society.
While considerable change has taken place in people’s attitude since 1947, but the “lower caste” communities are still not satisfactorily absorbed in the mainstream society. Rural India (where 70% of the population lives) is still quite “caste conscious” compared with the urban society where education and financial well-being has largely erased the caste divisions. Mahatma Gandhi tried to remove the social stigma of un-touchability by coining the label "Harijan" (god's people) for them but with only partial success. The official label for about 170 million (around 14 percent of current total population) unfortunate lower caste people is Scheduled Caste (SC).
Another segment of society that is still very much detached from the mainstream is the tribal community forming 8% of the population. These tribal people (called Scheduled Tribe (ST)) have historically lived in secluded areas such as forests. The Colonial British designated their habitations as "excluded areas", not due to any special privilege but for convenience of the colonial policies. Unfortunately, the “free” governments after 1947 never bothered to assimilate them into rest of the mainstream society and the tribal communities continued to remain isolated and “barely governed.” As a result, besides the poverty of the tribal communities, their backward due to lack of governance of their areas also gave rise to armed Maoist movement. It, ideologically, wants to establish communist state based on Mao’s principles through gun battle. Popularly called Naxals, these Maoists now pose the biggest internal security threat for the country. Fortunately, even now they have not formed any nexus with Islamic terrorist groups of next door neighbor Pakistan.
Beside the SCs and STs, there are several other communities designated “Other Backward Classes” or simply OBC – they may or may not be Hindus. Their socioeconomic plight is also similar to SCs and STs. The list of OBCs is dynamic and every now and then the government edits it (mostly for political reasons); there is significant confusion about their exact proportion. However, most experts agree OBCs to be in the range 25 – 35% of the population. Combined together they form 50 – 60 percent India's population! Thus, the population of the so-called forward or upper class is less than one-third, but who by and large control everything.
Now tell me how any country can possibly progress if over half of its people get excluded from the mainstream societal processes.
While marginalization and exclusion happen in all societies, but in India it is in grotesque proportions due to sheer numbers.
The policy of reservation in government jobs for the backward communities has certainly helped them to rise up to some extent. But it is insufficient because government jobs are limited. A far better way is to train and turn them into entrepreneurs. Here the idea of ‘social business’ offers a great opportunity for NGO and social organizations to make a difference.
The remedy lies in policies leading to inclusion and empowerment of the poor.
What say you?
High level of illiteracy, particularly in the rural areas and among women, has been a crucial factor not only in perpetuating economic backwardness but also for high population growth. The persistence of high illiteracy has created a situation where poverty and population have been feeding each other. It is well established that female literacy plays an important role in the well-being of the family in many ways. When women are educated, they not only contribute economically but also raise healthier kids and keep the family size small. Early marriage of girls and early child bearing is closely related with their low literacy; it feeds poverty.
In 2010 only 26.6% women above 25 years found to have received secondary education, as opposed to 50.4% men. In comparison, in China 54.8% women and 70.4% men had secondary education; in the US, this figure was 94.7% for women and 94.3% for men.
While the growth rate of population has decreased significantly over the decades and the rate fertility decline has accelerated since 2011, India's population is currently growing annually at the rate of about 1.4 percent. The total fertility rate has sharply fallen to 2.3 and should approach the replacement rate of 2.1 by 2020 and country's population should stabilize by 2050 at around 1.5 billion and then begin to fall. The current population increase is largely driven by population momentum (large base of people in the fertile age); not because people want large families. Around 18 million people are added to population each year. However, not that many people are lifted out of poverty every year.
Early marriage of girls and lack of awareness about reproductive healthcare, particularly in the rural areas, are major factors behind current population growth. Population is clearly a factor contributing to, and sustaining, high levels of poverty. But the Chinese population control through one-child policy would be a bad example to follow for the democratic India where people enjoy various Constitutional freedoms and rights.
4. Gender Inequality
Gender equality is both a core concern and an essential part of human development. Indian social fabric is highly patriarchal which has left women significantly exploited and discriminated. If caste based biases work only outside home in the open society, the discrimination against women operates both in and out of homes. Not only men always get preference in every walk of life, their attitude towards women is largely patronizing and imposing.
Their weak status, particularly in the rural areas, is at the root of most chronic problems. It is their lack of awareness or access to family planning tools and early marriage of girls and their early child bearing, which ultimately have led to high population; lack of awareness of health issues related to pregnancy and child upbringing has resulted in high mortality rate, under-nutrition and malnutrition among children; lower education and lack of freedom has resulted in low participation in societal processes. All these factors are enough to feed and sustain poverty.
On the World Economic Forum’s 2016 gender gap index (GGI) India ranked 87 out of 144 nations.in 2017, it slipped down to 108th position. The index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health criteria.
Indian Muslim community (forming 15% of country's population) is easily the most backward group in terms of gender inequality. Its clergy habitually wants Muslims to live like the Arab tribes of the 7th century uncivilized Middle East, in the name of Sharia'h Law - confining women inside the veils and oppressed by exploitative medieval practices of instant triple talaq, Halala marriages and polygamy.
Fortunately, Indian government is now firmly pushing an end to these stone-age practices by taking a pro-women stand in the Supreme Court of India. There are chances that Indian Muslim women would now move a bit closer towards gender equality. Incidentally, backward-looking Indian mullahs are also stumbling block on the way to a Uniform Civil Code for all Indians. This one step would provide freedoms enjoyed by rest of the Indian women.
5. Unequal Distribution of Wealth
India happens to be a rich country inhabited by very poor people. – Dr Manmohan Singh, Ex-Prime Minister of India
Unfortunately, since departure of the colonial British in 1947 all economic development has taken place in the cities, while the majority of the population lives in the countryside. Thus, the rural India has always remained neglected. Another peculiarity is the land holding pattern in India: most land has traditionally been under the control of a few landlords, leaving the vast majority landless. The "Zamindari system” of lopsided land ownership has ancient origin but given a boost during the British rule. Handful zamindars became legal owners of vast tracts of land and all others had to work for them to survive. This rent seeking exploitative system has since kept a vast majority of people in the rural India poor. Land reforms were debated noisily after independence but implementation lacked honest political will, despite the famous "Bhoodan Andolan" of Vinoba Bhave. Unfortunately, land reforms are no more an issue of public debates at present. All talks of poverty removal appear to center only around economic reforms, imitating the unsuitable Western capitalism.
Rising wealth inequality
According to the latest edition of Oxfam International’s global inequality report titled Reward Work, Not Wealth published in Jan 2018, the richest 1 percent in India bagged 73% of the wealth created last year; the poorest half got just 1 %. In the last 12 months the wealth of this elite group increased by Rupees 20,913 billion. This amount is equivalent to total budget of Central Government in 2017-18. As the myopic ‘economic experts’ gloat over rising number of billionaires in India, the inequality is growing bigger with each passing year. Rising inequality is working against the efforts of poverty eradication; it is also fracturing the society and undermining Indian democracy.
It is in fact a global phenomenon. Globally, 82 percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one percent of the global population, while 3.7 billion people that account for the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth, says the report.
6. Faulty Economic Reforms
The so called economic liberalization and market reforms that started in the 1990s are nothing but an attempt to replicate the Western capitalism that promotes "trickle down" economy. It serves to make the rich richer and expand the economy. India has become more unequal in recent years. In early 1990s, there were just 2 billionaires; now there are 131 billionaires, in a country of 1.33 billion people. The rich elites are also controlling more wealth, their share increased from 1.8 percent in 2003 to 26 percent in 2008. Today, they are still richer and much more powerful.
Experts suggest that if India could only freeze its rising inequality, by 2019 around 90 million more people could come out of extreme poverty. Reducing inequality by 10 points in Gini coefficient (equivalent of a 36 percent reduction) could further lift up another 83 million poor people.
The push to urbanization means uprooting the poor from their rural roots and turning them into “cheap labor resource” for businesses in the town. In the cities they would live in large slums, exploited both by the mafia and employers, devoid of human dignity and livelihood security.
Given the huge population and poverty, India needs an "employment centric" economy – millions of micro, small and medium business units. Only they can employ the unskilled or low skilled people from the vast pool of the poor.
Large high-tech industrial units don't generate too many jobs and whatever jobs they create is suitable for those who are already well off. According to the NSSO survey, the size of India's workforce is around 450 million. Of which only about 30 million work in the formal or organized sector. The government recognizes only about 70 million as unemployed or underemployed. Thus, there are 350 million unrecognized by the government as unemployed. Government surveys list them as "self employed" but they barely survive and live chronically in poverty. Who are these "self employed" people, more in numbers than the population of United States, and how do they survive?
They milk the cows, become seasonal farm workers, run small shops or sell on the roadsides, make incense sticks, match sticks and bidis, drive manual or auto rickshaws, work as domestic help, work as unaccounted contract workers on daily wages, work as gardeners and watchmen, or work as plumbers, carpenters or shoe repairers and so on. They have no safety net such as pension or healthcare benefits enjoyed by the regular employees and hence, are the most vulnerable. They are also the first victim of natural calamities, now becoming more frequent due to climatic disorder. [The poor are always the first victims of climatic disasters. Of course, nothing changes for better after their death-toll makes headline news.]
What do you think?
Jobless Economic Growth
Considering the population growth of around 18 million every year, around 10 million new jobs need to be created per year. In 7 years, between 2005 and 2012, India's GDP growth was 5.4% and only about 15 million new jobs were created. Official data say that 1.55 lakh jobs were created in 2015 and 2.31 lakh in 2016. All these numbers talk about the so-called formal economy of the rich people and their firms. This formal sector is all about the prosperity of the rich; not at all about the well-being of the poor.
Arrival of the dynamic Modi government in 2014 did not make things any better for young job seekers. The GDP may be growing at 7% per year. But job growth remains pathetic and that too for those well educated. India’s textbook ‘economic experts’ are ‘worried’ about stagnating 5% unemployment rate because their book knowledge ends at GDP growth. They have never lived in poverty or read books that talk about how the poor masses survive and what type of economy they actually need. Why? Because the ‘poor men economy’ is labeled ‘informal economy’ and it is all about people’s well being; not GDP.
The Economic Survey 2015-16 estimated that this informal sector provided 90% of jobs through the period 2004-05 to 2011-12. Further, the Survey also pointed to a shift in the pattern of employment from permanent jobs to casual and contract employment. The increasingly “temporary” nature of work has an “adverse effect” on the level of wages, stability of employment, and employees’ social security. It also indicates preference by employers away from regular/formal employment to circumvent labour laws.
Here is another twist. Such employment surveys do not consider the huge workforce – people working in units employing less than 10 people – and those employed in the informal sector.
A commonsense question: Why Indian government doesn’t make policies around this informal sector, if it is serious about eradicating poverty?
And the answer is: because India is run by the "follow West" economists who haven't the slightest idea what type of economic reforms India and its poor people really need. Their thinking stops at inviting "foreign direct investments" and vision fails to go beyond air conditioned corporate houses of the rich few. They are capital market fundamentalists who worship their only God called GDP!
I wonder why Indian finance minister doesn’t read about the capability theory of Nobel winner economist Amartya Sen to come out of his morbid obsession to GDP growth.
India Needs “Social Capitalism”
India must reject the Western capitalism model; it needs a “Social Capitalism” that is ideal for solving India’s problems. It should follow twin goals: ‘maximizing employment’ – given its huge population and poverty – and ‘maximizing social good’. This involves shifting away from the ‘shareholder’ to ‘stakeholder’ capitalism by incorporating interests of other stakeholders: employees, society, customers, and environment. Then finally encouraging what nobel winner Bangladeshi economist calls “social businesses” which operate to maximize chosen social goals while keeping the business profitable.
Corruption and leakages in government schemes are widespread in India. Late Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi had famously admitted that only about 15% money actually reaches the ultimate beneficiaries. Even if we discard this figure as highly pessimistic and assume that say 30-35% of the welfare funds actually reach the designated beneficiaries, the rest is siphoned off by the middlemen and people connected to the implementing government machinery. This is a common way for the people with “high connections” to acquire dirty wealth – by depriving the poor who generally have no voice or ability to assert. Another common form of corruption in schemes designed for the poor is inclusion of non-poor people with political connections in the list of beneficiaries. The end result is that the eligible poor are denied the benefits.
The scale of corruption has steadily increased since the economic reforms were started. In 1992, when market reforms just started Harshad Mehta led stock market scam was estimated at 750 crores; it was mind boggling figure then. Corruption peaked during 2004-14 when Manmohan Singh ruled the country. India was rocked by scam after scam, as if the country was literally thrown to dogs.
Fortunately, 2014 brought a nationalist government of Modi which is honest, efficient and far sighted. Indians are now full of hope about the future.
8. The Colonial Rule
"A significant fact which stands out is that those parts of India which have been longest under British rule are the poorest today." – Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India
The colonial British rule laid the foundation for a long term and chronic poverty in India after they departed. This is what Nehru is saying above using different set of words. The tiny state of Kerala in the southern India fortunately saw the least damaging influence of the British exploiters (there are many reasons for that) and is at present a unique model (in the world) of improvement in the quality of life through social and human development alone. It is something unthinkable for a Western brain which has been taught to see economic growth alone as "development."
It was the traditional historic prosperity of India that attracted invaders from various parts of the world in the last 2000 years. Prior to the British, India had been ruled by the foreigners like the Kushanas, Turko-Afghans and Mughals. All of them gradually got assimilated into the Indian society and culture. They not only became absorbed in India but also protected and promoted Indian society, culture and economy. None of them systematically drained India’s wealth or resources to make another country prosperous. Revenue collected or wealth acquired by them was spent within India. Whether spent on the public or for personal luxury of the ruling elite, the wealth remained within the country. Thus, India remained prosperous even in the Mughal era until the East India Company started acquiring "diwani" (right to collect revenue) around 1760. It was the beginning of the legal "plunder." The colonial rule was all about robbing India to enrich Britain.
The Battle of Plasssey in June 1757 marked the beginning of British dominance (and also the beginning of end of the Mughal Empire): when a small force of the East India Company's professional troops, defeated and killed the ruling Nawab of Bengal, Siraju-ud-daula. The outcome of the battle marked a significant turning point in the history of Indian subcontinent. It allowed the English East India Company foothold on the Indian soil, from which to undertake its future expansionist ventures within and around India. Soon, after the Battle of Buxar it acquired the "diwani" in Bengal and in 1765 its rights expanded to Bihar and Orissa.
Unlike their predecessors the British, however, consciously remained in India as foreign occupiers until their departure in 1947. They remained isolated from the Indian society and culture and formed a separate class of their own within India. The only reason for their presence in India (and in other occupied colonies) was to secure raw materials for British industries and other goods for the comforts of their citizens. The vast population in India also provided market for goods manufactured back home. They subordinated Indian economy to the British trade and industry. Their economic policies actively favored non-Indians or made things difficult for Indian businessmen. As occupiers, they used Indian wealth to pay for all their expansionist ventures and territory building both inside and outside India.
Moreover, the British policies forcibly disbanded community grain banks and promoted replacement of food crops for local consumption with cash crops like cotton, opium, tea and grains for export to feed the animals in England. This change in the cropping pattern left Indian farmers vulnerable to famines.
There are documentary evidences to suggest that the colonial rulers chose to ignore the famine affected people. It is estimated that during the two centuries of colonial rule, famines and the resulting epidemics caused over 30 million deaths. The most recent Bengal Famine of 1943-44 led to about 1.5 million deaths from starvation; 3.5 million if deaths from epidemics are also included.
In his masterpiece "Poverty and un-British Rule in India" Dadabhai Naoroji (popularly labeled as "The Grand Old Man of India" and "The Father of Indian Nationalism") also categorically blamed "the drain of wealth" for the poverty in India.
As opposed to the Western ‘trickle down’ capitalism India needs a comprehensive “human development” plan in order to really crush the widespread poverty. 1. It needs an economy that supports millions of small and medium enterprises that are suitable to employ low skilled poor people. 2. Focus on good governance to root out deep-rooted corruption that eats away a major chunk of the welfare budget. 3. Finally, promote women empowerment through education and healthcare; it will greatly help deal with poverty fed by the population growth.
These 8 major causes of poverty, by themselves, point to the right development model. India must realize that by blindly following GDP growth, it is only promoting inequality that sustains by keeping the poor in poverty.
Finally, there is a silver lining in the dark. In recent years, particularly since 2014, the Indian government has initiated targeted anti-poverty programs that are all inclusive. Quite likely, future poverty estimates would show a much reduced poverty level in India.
Questions & Answers
Question: Do you really think Modi's government has helped to create more jobs and eradicate poverty from our nation since his coming to power? Are the minorities and poor in India rejoicing in its policies? Are people really gaining from gst and demonetization? Has communal harmony increased due to his governance? Is media free from any political influence?
Answer: A typical mind thinks in terms of 'jobs' but in reality, what it means is the earning opportunity. Self-employment is the only ideal answer in a high populous country like India. Even the government has to tighten its belt to operate within the budget. Indian population is around 1300 million and each year about 1 percent (or 13 million) gets added to it. So ideally that many new 'jobs' must be added each year.
Private companies run for profit alone and do their best to employ the least number of people and opt for savings by encouraging part-time jobs. The government can't create so many jobs -- and that in any way it is not the primary role of the government. It must only provide the enabling policy framework for the business and private entrepreneurship to blossom. Modi government's 'Skill India' initiative is the ideal way to help people earn themselves. The 'Start-Up India' program is helping young entrepreneurs to venture towards self earners and employment creators as well. Besides, Modi is also struggling to correct a lot of systemic defects leading to funding leakages in the administration.
'Demonetization' was a harsh but need step to target the deep-rooted corruption mindset -- all those politicians who opposed it the most vociferously are those with the most unaccounted cash! Small traders did face some short term difficulties but there is more hype than substance in its opposition. The GST is the biggest tax reform in the history of independent India! Only Modi could do these two things that were long overdue.
Modi's other mega initiative is the Ayushman Scheme -- aiming to provide health-cover to around 100 million households (or about 500 million people). This largest health cover in the world takes care of medical expenses up to half a million rupees. Sudden or large medical expense is a big cause of people remaining stuck in poverty. There are many other initiatives that are offering targeted benefits to the needy. I have a hub on this topic.
The Minority/majority debate, the 'talk of communal harmony' and 'media freedom' are a standard part of long-running agenda against Modi and his party. You can get to the reality if you can avoid the highly powerful anti-India and anti-Modi lobbies with global reach.
Question: Why does India have a space agency if it is so poor?
Answer: Running a country is not like running a household with tight budget; multiple things can be and must be done simultaneously to cater to the requirements of different segments of society. Requirements of the poor is different from those of other social segments. All sections of the society must develop and the gap between lowest and highest strata must narrow with time.
Space, nuclear and other such programs cater to the need of the highly educated and promising researchers and scientists. They develop high-end technology in the country that has multiple and long running advantages.
Question: I agree with your article but what about the middle-class aspirations and their children's dream, the rise of uneducated youth with just degrees who have no knowledge and are apathetic toward others. How to get their discretion?
Answer: As the poor rise, they become part of the middle class. Fighting poverty doesn't mean ignoring other sections of the society. Skill development is the way to enable youth and unemployed to earn. And, to achieve all round development of the society 'empowerment' is the key -- by way of providing corruption-free governance with least bureaucratic administration. I admire the current government of PM Modi in trying to do the right things with a long term vision.
dtv on June 27, 2020:
1. human community is driven by culture of language, religion and its rulers. Shankarcharya and Mohammed explained one god concept in their religions. Islam could impact the world by language. Hinduism a individual practice appreciated by like minded group can never represent a religion. An Indian can never love an Indian since they differ uniqueness of culture. Indian multi languages system regionalised by rulers to their regions for power and war with neighbour for dominance. India lost its way to lead human identity to for unified India. We are living with false identity with no aim for one India, We are in 21 century with no strategic change to improve from 500 tribal cultures to one culture. We are Hindu by region not by a one culture / practice. Dividing India on linguistic base killed future of India, now it is poisoned by local leaders for their greediness. The country which cannot make its people to follow one language, cannot make one culture and one India. A parent having 15 children and speak 15 languages at home, how they can make best understanding among them, for single family.
Ayushman kashyap on November 27, 2019:
Sir, I admire your effort in writing with such clarity, in India due to the so-called economic reforms, the Indian middle-class minds with their colonial hangover sent their children to study science and in this market economy of today, those institutions just robbed their pockets. With such an attitude, people neglected the importance of social science subjects and their influence, even the big corporates don't need such students because of their need for specialised skill sets. So when a society who doesn't know the importance of social sciences then how one should individually work towards the betterment of the society without getting their attention in this western capitalist system? And I will be happy if I can get in contact with you personally through any of your contacts.
Gioken on September 30, 2019:
India is a very poor nation and its population is increasing at an overwhelming rate. By 2021 it will surpass that of china. Its per capita income is at the bottom ie 145th more population will add to more poverty and scarcity of resources. Therefore the main reasin for poverty is also its high population growth, if the govt doesnt takes any measure on the population control the India will always be regarded as a poor country whatever may the pm shout at the podium about the fairytales of growth.
John on July 03, 2019:
I just did above.
Raman on May 28, 2019:
Joginder singh on May 17, 2019:
India has lack of sincerity when it comes to solving the problems of the poor because they are simply not bothered about, but middleclass Indians must apply technology to counter poverty and ofcourse spending on education and infrastructure, health and sanitation. We can substantially dent the poverty numbers which according to this article is about 530 million perhaps the most in the world.
Ramesh on May 16, 2019:
are you serious??
are you not aware of statistic/??
please do some reading before portraying the country in such demeaning light
richa on April 02, 2019:
Goodpal (author) on March 06, 2019:
The right approach is to increase the "Ease of Living". The so-called superpower status is no guarantee that poverty is completely removed.
priyanka on March 03, 2019:
India is not poor never poor, its just india is so humble that britishers and out siders are looted and they are living now by looted wealth from india. india is risen again and will be super power by 2030 write in paper.
Goodpal (author) on October 04, 2018:
Considering the colonial exploitation of 200 years and spirituo-cultural distortions during the 800 years of Islamic rule, the state of India is not so hopeless although not at all very rosy. The backbone of Indian life is its ancient "Dharma' based culture that gave birth to vedic knowledge and the the most unique Buddha and his teaching. It is only in India that a Gandhi is born who established "non-violence"and truth as more potent weapons than gun and guile. Therefore, India has a chance to move in the right direction as long as Indians stay connected with their roots.
Hritik Tripathi on September 29, 2018:
India have to do much hard work to remove these stigma over it.
Raju podiyan on September 14, 2018:
afia on September 14, 2018:
why govt should not take any step to control property
Goodpal (author) on August 23, 2018:
Poverty is basically an education and empowerment issue. It can't be solved till we stop looking at it as an income or money issue - these are just symptoms. For the rich class, poverty is essential to get things done at lower prices.
Shalini Thvi on August 05, 2018:
Its such a shame how India has became to this despite its exotic and rich culture, I honestly really have to blame the government that led the country to this state, with a better government or Prime Minister that can see the poverty and tackle down all of these corruption and change its economic model and have good priorities to benefit people and the country as a whole. Not benefiting the rich :/ it just doesnt even benefit the poor people at all and the overall country. The country can do so much better than this!
And the people there are not even aware of this makes the situation even more worst due to unawareness of corruption going on and voice out on it and vote for the governments that have good morals and have the desire to help the people and want the best out of their people.
WILSON ANTHONY THOPPIL on July 26, 2018:
Our Govt. is totally ignoring the Agriculture sector and leaving the full responsibility to farmers but many farmers are not doing any farming due to various reasons beyond their control. Suppose, our old generation of farmers era ends, and we cannot expect our new generation will do the farming and so, slowly our country's farming sector will become zero. How long people of our state will depend on their neighboring states or country for procuring agriculture products. Therefore, Govt. had to take full control of agriculture sector and to treat it like an industry, allowing participation of big industrial groups and take full responsibility of Agri.production, distribution/marketing like a co-operative farming hereby farmers will get exact wages and job security and no farmer will commit suicide.
WILSON ANTHONY THOPPIL on July 25, 2018:
Indian economy will get a boost only if we Revive our Agriculture sector. In our country so many people occupy vast land without doing any cultivation and Acres of land lying idle in many villages of our country. Central Govt. had to conduct a survey of such land and keep a record of its custodian and take some measures to make use of such lands for doing agriculture by introducing a law against such land owners to surrender their unused land to Govt. on a value fixed by the Govt. or to confiscate such land as per the law.
bha on July 11, 2018:
Poverty may result from having kids you cannot support. Anyonewho has limited breeding is doing fine, even without education. If one third is well off, surely all it means is each of us needs to uplift just TWO . Not so hard.
Shekhar dass on June 20, 2018:
Well talking of everything given above, it is totally clear that india is poor because of the very very poor governance mechanism. It is the literally the most unprofessional sector in india. Strict, disciplined, targeted and most importantly corruptless and transparent policies are needed to be applied concerning every field of the nation. The dignity and self esteem of india is needed to be preserved and any cancer for the country is needed to be 'surgically' removed.....if you get what i mean
Justiceworld on June 14, 2018:
It is all about political game that poor peaple have to face
Mr.R N Singh on June 08, 2018:
India is poor not because of the cast system. Cast system in traditional way of life ensured employment to all. It did not lead to hunger and poverty. it was division of labour based on skill gained through informal societal training. Exploitation was there but such exploitation is there in the modern industrial ways of employment. Since we have chosen the western model of development, cast system has to be eradicated. But in the pursuit to power, cast is heavily relied and its identity is sought to be preserved by the politicians. At work place, reservation in promotion in government job thereby compelling senior to work under the junior is the ugliest example of preserving cast system for political gain.
yatharth tariyal on April 13, 2018:
i would say the caste system of indian society is the main cause of it's poverty. many foreign forces attacked and conquered india due to its caste division only. indians are such a fool that even they dont know how to feed their people properly , they just know caste system . they think only in terms of castes . i am indian and i have saw many upper caste people like brahmins are racials they treat other people like animal. they think themselves smarter than any other caste people. they exploit other people . they harras socially economically sexually mentally.
Vignesh on April 11, 2018:
Why is India not working on that being known about the cause. Whom should we say? Who should work on it? I think people should take step and need to compelling the government... To take steps.
Development of India is development of india
Spr on March 30, 2018:
Asha Kanta Sharma from Patna, Bihar, india on March 03, 2018:
ARVIND RAJPUT on February 14, 2018:
Most point corruption is responsible for poverty
Matt S. (D.C., USA) on January 22, 2018:
I'd say the reason for poverty in India is the colonial mentality of the people. India and China have roughly the same population. But while Indians have the advantage of speaking better English, China's economy is 5 times greater than that of India. Indians still think like a colonized people. They always look up to the west - adoring America and even Israel - and never really invested in their own people like the successful East Asian economies, like Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China did.
A.D.Hatwar.(Indian). on January 13, 2018:
I commented that India is a great country. There culture, their natural resources are very big.but their in mughal and British forces are come in India then they get come first for merchants but they see their fight against ours people then they (Britisher)are get for their country for price.then they get natural resources , gold ,diamond, silver of India at low costs. & then Britishers scientist research and then they get develop new matter and they sell their matter at high price to other country's . after India independent the Indian economy was decrease at 70 % down & hence India has poor country. Wherever the Britisher & mughal was not come to India then India is a superpower than any other country.
M.sivakumar Villupuram Tamil nadu on December 05, 2017:
Message is Nice Important Very Useful
Maknus Fyre on October 22, 2017:
Blame the British for being idiots. Why the hell did they exploit India and Africa? Me, being Dutch, has always been against the British and Netherlands as they have exploited once-rich countries to shitty poor.
Purche.. on September 15, 2017:
Corrupt government should be killed dead or alive...this is the time to fix poverty..
Gail Johnson on August 31, 2017:
A massive reduction in population is necessary. Mandatory vasectomies? One child policy? Free birth control and abortions? Re-education about the desirability of no-child families. Europe had hereditary surfdom until after the Black Death which wiped out 30-40% of the population. Then like magic labor was back in demand since it was so scarce. This is what gave rise to the middle class in Europe. Perhaps working in this direction is the high degree of female fetus abortion or outright infanticide. Right now there are only 9 women for every 10 men. Not sure how well things will work out though when it gets to be 8 or less women for every 10 men. An interesting social experiment to watch.
RATHOD AJAY KUMAR on August 30, 2017:
Does anyone trying to implement any ideas to avoid poverty
Prasad on August 30, 2017:
I find it ironic while humans created money (wealth) giving it importance we gave it value, Now few 1% has most of the wealth 99% are deprived of it. Work hours should have reduced in 21st century but its still 8hrs of slavery to make some guy rich. Every honest person who wants well being of his/her country pay taxes but have anything changed? No redistribution of wealth is being done which is important to eradicate poverty.
Danish on August 27, 2017:
Modi and honest ? Seriously its so funny he is the biggest lier I ve ever seen in my whole life! Modi is just a trouble maker in between Muslim and hindu brothers indirectly
Goodpal (author) on August 25, 2017:
Very correct! Climate disturbances do promote poverty and deprivation.
rajagopal on August 23, 2017:
fiscal discipline and public expenditure are most important aspects for sustainable growth of national economy. The elements of nature - EARTH FIRE WATER AIR SPACE must not become the possession of anyone, which belongs to the wealth of a nation that consist of. To preserve and safeguard these elements of Nature is the duty of a Government of the Nation and of its people. Laws and Rules are to be exercised stringently by imposing penalties.
Modiyanathji on August 17, 2017:
The pic of Macauley is fake!
This article doesn't make any sense!! India is poor because of the caste-system and because of brahmins!
Goodpal (author) on August 16, 2017:
Poverty is basically a human development issue; we wrongly see it as mere income issue. It is also an issue of social justice and rational distribution of wealth. 1% richest humanity controlling everything is the most basic cause of poverty in the 21st cenury.
Goodpal (author) on August 12, 2017:
Please keep sharing. I always invite thoughtful comments.
Manuzz on August 09, 2017:
Goodpal I know ind much better than you, there is prohibtion for dalit people even using public govt well, u dont know anything abt Ind caste system its a poison, what u do research is on rich people, read ambedkar books and talk, ur knowledge about ind caste system is such a minute, there is still bonded labour in ind, all such atrocities are only faced by dalit, ya their religious cruelty for enrichment of their wealth, dalits are looted day by day, A policy should be mandated, so that dalits in ind have a representaion in United Human Rights, then only the world know its problem, if not shutdown ur Mac Book.
Goodpal (author) on August 09, 2017:
Poverty has several dimensions; it can't be adequately understood by any one dimension. You may explore my hub: Looking at poverty, beyond lack of income.
Manuzz on August 09, 2017:
INDIA IS POOR ONLY BECASUE OF CASTE SYSYTEM
f-f-a.info on August 05, 2017:
In countries where poverty is rife, corruption is generally high. However, it must be acknowledged that corruption is less in India than in other countries with similar income per capita.
Ravi Mahara on May 31, 2017:
Very insightful, it encapsulates most of the causes. Thank you, it will really help me in my essay exam for civil services. Once again thank you.
hari haran on January 04, 2017:
very touching.corrupt ones should be punished
NGarner on December 31, 2016:
So basically, India is poor because they're not liberal enough, except for the corruption bullet point? Horse. Shit.
sruthi on November 06, 2016:
i know that india us developing step by step but all the hardwork of higher authorities has beenwasted by grabing them for their own use to improve india first we should eradicate the corruption i too have a opinion that it should be a socialist economy
Manpreet Kaur on October 24, 2016:
India holds the distinction of having the most number of poor of the world super nation.In order to make "development" in India the first & foremost thing is that India needs Economy .Secondly,it should promote "Women Empowerment"..Still now millions of people are suffering from poverty..
Sundaram Sharma on October 10, 2016:
I am from haridwar, india. This place is made for visitors but if u accidentally born in this place, ur are going to have a bad experience. Nobody want to improve themselves, only they can blame government and no problem in that, our state government have send more than 1000 crores rupees for development and still we don't have smooth road for even 100 meters. I love my country more than anything but at the same time I hate my country people who always praise western country and at the same time help our country to make it even worse.
joe on September 15, 2016:
Why not use China's one child policy? You've never explain why not. There comes a time, when population growth is going to do more harm than good, drastic actions must be done, such as restricting further births. These actions must be taken by Indian leaders. For Leaving birth control in the hands of indian populace is a receipe for disaster.
Vishal on September 13, 2016:
Actually the problem lies in the above comments itself. None Indians bother about others excluding a handful. it was a colony once bt now it is over. thinking and discussing about past will make no difference. If anyone wants the country to be jst the way you want then its not gonna work. keep it simple start from yourself. Indians are expert in pulling others legs neither we have guts to do the same. learn moral values, helping the ones who suffer. contributions in small scale whatsoever can make a difference. Throw away the thoughts about caste, rich, poor, men-women differences. i actually am working in UP right now and i feel ashamed of the things that How women are looked upon by Men. neither the people have a mannerism about how to speak nor they are civilized. Moral values doesnot even count. India has become a hub of major problems:
these factors have led india down and no other.
sarfraj Ansari on September 03, 2016:
The main reason of India's backwardness poverty ,literacy ,cruption, bad politician,etc . Today india faces many problem . this problem can solve if all indian become literate and we should hate cruption , poor should given economically halp by the government so that they find good education .
kashika tyagi on September 02, 2016:
in order to reduce poverty the main step we can do is to make government go to the 3 main states that has highest poverty and take out the various methods to reduce them, its not only government duty but our as well , in order to support we can conclude many workshop in order to teach how to be hygienic .................................... india is not only government's but of our as well...........
Mckinsey on August 13, 2016:
India will never ever become a successful and prosperous country due to a rampant corruption, vicious caste system, inadequate educational programmes and woeful state of India's health care. Game, set and match!
There was a time when we the West compared India to China, China is currently the second most powerful nation in the world and India is still not just lagging behind but it is going backwards, an economic calamity, the poorest nation in the world.
Shubh on August 02, 2016:
India is poor because people want it to be poor
India would have been richest country if britisher didn't came to our country
India would not be poor if people would send their children to school instead of making them work
The answer is very long but the reason that it is poor is people. Britisher made us fight against each other. Britishers stole our property. They everything we had. Before britshers came to India, it was the richest place in the world
Bob on July 26, 2016:
Generic article. Looks like is written with an Indian mindset. Very mediocre, there's nothing that stands out.
ravi on July 25, 2016:
Very great article.
Singh on July 14, 2016:
India deserves much better than this, we have got the fastest growing economy in the world and large pool of highly talented people but we are let down by horrible politicians
zak on July 12, 2016:
Twenty years ago Rwanda was engulfed by brutal civil war which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives and today this country is the safest, prosperous and the cleanest nation in the world. The capital Kigali is far cleaner than New York, Amsterdam, Sydney and Paris. We have achieved this through hard work, discipline, stamping out corruption and excellent leadership and in 2025 this nation will become a middle class to upper class
I love Africa and Asia, guys can we please stop dwelling on what is wrong with our society and start finding the core problem and then remove it. India can take Rwanda as a case study; Rwandan leaders were inspired by Asian nation Singapore’s rags to riches story.
zak on July 12, 2016:
Twenty years ago Rwanda was engulfed by vicious civil war which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives and today this country is the safest, prosperous and the cleanest nation in the world. The capital Kigali is far cleaner than New York, Amsterdam, Sydney and Paris. We have achieved this through hard work, discipline, stamping out corruption and excellent leadership and in 2025 this nation will become a middle class
I love Africa, Asia and Latin America. Guys can we please stop dwelling on what is wrong about our society and start finding the core problem and remove it. India can take Rwanda as a case study; Rwandan leaders were inspired by Asian nation Singapore’s rags to riches story
Anonymous on June 25, 2016:
One of the reasons why india is a poor country is that the people live here are too much arrogant & too much selfish. People are jealous of each other's betterment. Too much corruption broke its legs. This land has no problem but is blessed with numerous wealth. People are the main culprits.Remember if this continues this way, India will have a nightmare soon.
SNP on June 11, 2016:
We are not rich due to the following reasons.
1) lack of Value Education
2) lack of Value Governance
3) lack of facility for all (inequality)
4) Lastly development is just a huge wave in an Ocean, so when all indians try to develop with hand to hand then everybody will develop.
baskaran on June 01, 2016:
india is really rich country in once upon a time ..but now my indians families are in poverty...main reason was corruption .....i wanna a good leader to rule and educate our county ......always proud to be a indian.. only day definitly it wil be change...that day india is the most powerful country in the world...
Goodpal (author) on May 15, 2016:
Thanks for the time to read and share your thoughts. I try to focus on issues that need solution. More than my mediocre writing skills the population issue needs highlighting and I just tried my best.
Zerberus Tbh on May 14, 2016:
I liked the article in what it said and entirely agree with you.
Not the best writing I saw on this site, but still pleasent to read and very informative.
Prakash sharma on May 09, 2016:
Hello all ,
Though its true , the colonial british rule , our corrupt netas , businessmen etc. All have contributed to India s woes . but isnt it true that as citizens of this great country we have also failed to do our basic duties .? How many of you follow lane discipline ? How many of you pay bribes to the RTO for quick licence ? how many of you throw plastic wastes into the garbage dump ? How many of you have not bribed anyone to get contracts or tenders .. How many of you have misused our reservation system to get admissions to colleges and varsities inspite of being economically well off . How many of you have bought fake degrees from dubious institutes or colleges ? Ask yourself these questions and then introspect .its good to think about the society or country but before that we must think about changing ourselves . changing our attitude . India will change if we all change personally.
Goodpal (author) on April 29, 2016:
Dr Romanov, do elaborate the point you want to make. Thanks for reading.
Dr. Romanov on April 29, 2016:
While there is some truth in this article, it is very biased.
Student on April 16, 2016:
I think the most leading cause of poverty is corruption done by Politicians and some people who keep black money due to which prices are increasing and in result poor are getting more poor.....
indian on April 02, 2016:
There are so many rich people in india if eveyone of them donates even 1 Crore Or 1 Lakh india will be rich again.Also if we buy indian products and just for 90 days we leave foriegn products india's money in rupees wilk he changed in dollars and that's a fact and everybody who read the article and the comment neeed to understand this and work on this matter . India doesn't need sympathy but it needs EMPATHY.
rohit... on January 20, 2016:
I pray for god plz save my indian I realy hope one day they will change .....
Goodpal (author) on December 14, 2015:
Thanks MagikGimp, for sharing.
I am glad that you did not justify the very philosophy of colonization and resource plunder. 'Developed' people don't think in terms of exploiting other people and societies.
The theme of the article is the widespread poverty in India - towards which colonialism has certainly contributed a lot; not on whereabouts of some Freaky Englishmen. The impact Indian society has seen is reflected extremely well by the said quote.
BTW, exploiters don't say or document everything they do. Indians have never sent any invitation to the British to come and take away resources or colonize them.
Britain now has the opportunity to share development technologies with its ex-colonies and help them come out of poverty. Is it doing it - is the biggest question.
MagikGimp on November 30, 2015:
I don't know how much this article was based on sound research but that quote is commonly misappropriated with Macaulay at least. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Thomas_Babingto...
saalim abdiaziz mohamed on November 15, 2015:
i think the most problem of indians people have there is no middle class until view off
vipin yadav on September 24, 2015:
A nice assimilation and systematic presentation of thoughts and ideas..It gives a deep insight & approach..
KAN on September 15, 2015:
Dont forget the main reason ie RESERVATION
buddhaanalysis on August 24, 2015:
India is filled with poor people and they are very dirty.
concon13 on August 18, 2015:
this was NOT HELPFUL
deal with it
Goodpal (author) on July 06, 2015:
As we all know, all global rules are made according to narrow Western interests. Injustices like colonialism, racism, exploitation, apartheid, invasion of smaller countries, ............... globalization, trade rules..... and in the future more rules will come - they all originate from the 'static'Western mindset. The West must control and dictate. Respectful coexistence is a foreign idea that must be rejected, always.
But, the power balance is now slowly shifting to the East - China, in particular. The US will continue its traditional hegemony but it clearly lacks finnesse and insightful diplomacy. It does not match its destruction power. It is all old fashioned stick and carrot kind of stuff, devised by mediocre diplomats. It miserably failed in its glorious war against terror (!); more failure should come in coming years. It's record on climate efforts is as we all know - irresponsible and escapist.
Wut on July 04, 2015:
There's also the trap that Western countries have put them (and many other countries) in, supplying food and clothes and electronics to the world is remarkably devalued in comparison to the services allied to banking (e.g finance itself, accounting for finance, financial consulting). Western countries can supply and produce less but still earn more for not much.
They never stood a chance.
Goodpal (author) on June 13, 2015:
Thanks Maheshwar, for sharing.
Empowerment and skill development are two basic aspects for permanent poverty removal. For this, battle has to move in areas beyond economics and money. Unfortunately, people still see poverty as a money issue; it is actually an issue of lack of proper development beyond GDP growth.
Maheswar Deka on June 13, 2015:
If I have Rs 100/and I buy vegetables worth Rs 100/=then it is OK and as such no loss in incurred. This is the model of economics of a country too. The Public money be spent without any wastages.Correct policies be framed-modernisation of both agriculture and industrialisation.Infrastructure be created and public utility services be provided.Both education and heath care be made available in the country.
@ Bollywood... from Ahmedabad on May 21, 2015:
Nice in depth article... I wish we could help in removing these problems on a small scale at least...
Goodpal (author) on May 11, 2015:
Thanks Sarka, for reading and sharing.
Yes, they are the "free market" fundamentalists whose economic textbooks tell them that government should stay away. They aim to make money and represent people with money; solving poverty is not their forte. In fact, they should stay away from talking about poverty and poor.
Sarka on April 27, 2015:
I saw the Slumdog Millionaire film last night, and was interested to know how this amazing country so rich in culture and phylosophy has so many many people leading so troubled lives in slums.
Your article enlighted me very much, thanks. From what I recollect, the good starting point could be land reform in countyside - the state could buy the land from the rich landowners and give it to suitable "poor" people (and teach them how to work on the land). More money for them, better life for their kids with more free time to go to school, less people going to cities to find jobs and ending up in slums.
What makes me smile are the comments "state shouldn't do anything, people would become lazy", so far from day -to-day reality... look at Scandinavia states.
Goodpal (author) on April 11, 2015:
Thanks Melissae for reading an sharing.
Yes, Americans typically blame laziness for poverty in the US. The day when they would see it coming from the nature of the economic system, there would be no poor in the US.
Ridiculous Man on April 11, 2015:
How beautifully and systematically you have put forward the problem and a gradual process do deal with it... Very nice post Goodpal... keep it up...!!
Melissa Reese Etheridge from Tennessee, United States on April 11, 2015:
What an interesting and thorough article. I find it interesting that poverty in America is linked to laziness by most people. Poverty in America cannot begin to compare to poverty in other countries.
Piyush Sharma from New Delhi on March 18, 2015:
Nice and Informative Article.
Goodpal (author) on March 11, 2015:
Yes, the colonial rule like slavery or racism was never a benevolent act. It was all about loot (or rob) in ordinary language to get rich quickly!!
Look at the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and turmoil there. It is still about dominance, hegemony, and oil politics - 3 things NATO nations can't let go!!!!
i love india on March 11, 2015:
omg.....the British stole our money and they ruled over us that's what caused all this hassle.....and India will become a superpower soon i have faith in that!
Goodpal (author) on February 24, 2015:
Thanks Angel. Do keep sharing.
angelayuka on February 24, 2015:
The articles are beautiful. The goddess bless you
Goodpal (author) on February 22, 2015:
Thanks sweety, for sharing.
More than prayers India needs good policies and clean and transparent governance. In last 2-3 decades realities have changed so old solutions like reservations in govt jobs are neither sufficient not right approach. Empowerment is the key word for long term effects.
With dynamic Modi as PM, there is hope that some meaningful change will take place in Indian society.
sweety on February 22, 2015:
I love my country.poor people should get rights as soon possible.plz pray for the people who r so poor to get right...
gminam on February 10, 2015:
some people tht when then become they will go to USA but i want to see the day when they say they will come to India when they grow up
sera on February 08, 2015:
I love my country.so I prayer to god for safe my country in poverty
satyaveer on January 30, 2015:
Its always amazing to read you sir.
If you wont mind could you compile your articles in pdf form .I really like the way you narrate the whole story. Indeed its my hobby now to read your work whenevr I get time.