India is in the grip of unprecedented inflation and majority of countrymen are feeling the heat. Wheat flour is available for not less than Rs. 18 and rice is not available for less than Rs. 20 to 25. Sugar, which provides some sweetness to hard-hit aam admi, had shot up to Rs. 48 and now has been brought down to Rs. 35. If you want a litre of milk for your children and you happen to be living in a metropolitan city, you have to shell out at least Rs. 30. Of course for BPL families wheat and rice are made available at lower rates but every Indian is not so fortunate to be included in this category of ‘fortunates’. Worse is the condition of people, who are condemned to live in far-flung places and backward areas or small villages.
During a recent trip to a town in Tamil Nadu, your Editor was shocked to see the crowd of ration seekers, most of them women, jostling in summer heat under scorching sun to claim their share from a ration shop. Don’t forget that Tamil Nadu is ranked not as a poor but developed and prosperous State. You can imagine what would be the condition of poorer people in poorer States. Similar is the condition of 90 crore Indians, who according to Arjun Singh Gupta Committee earn less than Rs. 20 a day.
Contrast this with the life of our rich sections, who are well paid, well fed and well looked after. They can boast of even luxuries of visiting the air conditioned malls and purchasing the essentials and non-essentials of their choice.
The condition of poor Indians is not only pitiable but also shameful for a country which claims of being on the verge of becoming a Super Power. Stockpiles of nuclear bombs, plan to put a man on the moon, hosting Commonwealth Games and opening of scores of five-star and seven-star hotels will not make us a Super Power. But uplifting of common man, feeding him properly, saving his children from malnutrition and providing education and health care to every Indian will put us on the road to prosperity, which may pave the way to becoming a Super Power in the true sense of the term.
It is shameful that India ranks 66th among 88 nations on the Global Hunger Index (just one notch above African country Zimbabwe). Is it not unbecoming of us that we are ranked 132nd in the UN Human Development Index? It is one slot below our underdeveloped, lowly neighbour Bhutan.
There is no use in boasting about the ever increasing number of our millionaires and billionaires. We have to address the pressing problems faced by common Indiansand stop counting the number of crorepatis. Unless we concentrate on uplifting the teeming millions, to be precise 120 crore men, women and children, we can’t lay claim to even belonging to a civilized society.