Saturday March 23, 2019

According to a charity, the number of rural Indians without clean water equivalent to UK population

The report by Wateraid states that 63 million rural people in India do not have access to clean water, mostly due to remote locations and climate issues

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child drinking water, wikimedia

New Delhi, March 21, 2017: According to a development charity,  India happens to be the home to the largest number of rural people without access to clean water. The country also faces an increased strain on scarce resources due to an escalating population and climate change among other factors, a development charity. Tuesday WaterAid stated over 63 million rural Indians (the number being equivalent of the population of Britain) do not use clean water to drink, cook or wash with, mostly due to remote locations,poor planning, weak infrastructure and such issues.

China occupied the second place with almost 44 million rural people without clean water in the report by WaterAid. The third spot was shared by Nigeria and Ethiopia; each with more than 40 million rural people without access to safe water, according to the study released ahead of World Water Day on March 22. In a statement, V K Madhavan, Chief Executive, Wateraid India said, “A majority of these people come from poor rural communities and any significant variation in the climate only worsens their daily struggle to access clean water.”

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He believes, because of the disaster-stricken state of 27 out of the 35 states and union territories, the poorest and the most marginalised across the country will have to bear the brunt of extreme weather events and climate change and naturally will find it the hardest to adapt.

According to Indian Express, Around 663 million people globally have no access to clean water, with almost 80 percent – 522 million – living in rural areas, WaterAid’s report said. Many are in countries that are already highly vulnerable to extreme weather hazards such as cyclones, floods and droughts. The rise in climate-related extreme weather events not only worsens their plight, but also leaves millions more water insecure, it added.

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It can be expected that diseases such as cholera, blinding trachoma, malaria and dengue will become more common and malnutrition more prevalent. A struggle to grow food and feed livestock amid soaring temperatures among rural farming communities can also be predicted.

According to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, even though it is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, India ranks amongst countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, but least ready to adapt.

Since sweeping to power in 2014 sanitation has been prioritized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government – launching a “Clean India” campaign  which aims to provide toilets for all and end open defecation in the country by 2019. But it must be admitted that the task is mammoth.

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Wateraid’s repost has also mentioned that nearly 76 million Indians need improved water sources and 770 million require proper toilets. As a result, annually 68,000 children under five pass away due to diarrhea and such diseases caused by unsafe water access and poor sanitation, it added.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

Next Story

Are There Enough Jobs In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Led India?

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

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VOA
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. Pixabay

For people streaming in from rural areas around New Delhi, the first stop is a collection of busy city intersections where contractors select daily wage labor from the crowds of young and old waiting every morning to get work.

Many standing at these intersections say they get work for barely half the month. “I have the ability to work hard. I never turn down any work. But I would prefer to get a cleaner, permanent job,” says 29-year-old Tek Chand. “The problem is one day I have money to buy rations, the next day I don’t.” Like millions of others, he migrated from his village three years ago to seek work and a better life in the city.

FILE - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019. VOA
As India prepares for general elections on April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being attacked by opposition parties for failing to make good on a promise he made in 2014 to create millions of jobs for India’s huge young population. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party rebuts that criticism and says India is generating new opportunities as it becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies.

Job creation is a massive challenge for a nation with one of the world’s youngest populations — half the country’s 1.3 billion people are under the age of 25.

Recent data shows that joblessness has soared to record high levels. Opposition parties have made joblessness one of their principal election planks and have accused the prime minister of failing the estimated 8 to 10 million young people who enter the workforce every year.

The independent Mumbai-based Center for Monitoring Indian Economy estimates that unemployment reached 7.2 percent last month and that 11 million jobs were lost in 2018. With a working population of 500 million, that translates into more than 30 million people waiting for jobs. An unpublished official survey that showed unemployment at a 45-year-high has also been widely quoted by Indian media.

India's main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019.
India’s main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019. VOA

On the campaign trail, the head of the main opposition Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as Modi’s principal challenger, talks repeatedly about a “jobs crisis.”

“Our government is refusing to accept that we have a massive crisis and potential disaster in front of us,” Gandhi told a group of university students in New Delhi recently, many who will be first time voters.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. It points to a recent industry report that jobs have been created in the medium and small sectors.

The BJP says millions of people have found work in the transport and infrastructure sectors or as delivery boys in booming online businesses as India becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. They point out that the issue is not jobs but livelihoods, and point to millions of people who are not counted in job data.

They are self-employed people like cab owner Chain Pal Singh. As the app based taxi business boomed, Singh’s friend, who operated a cab, persuaded him to quit his job and take out a loan to buy a car. His decision has paid off — in four years he has earned enough money to invest in two more cabs.

Singh says he is much better off than when he held a job. “I used to earn about $225 dollars a month. Now in some months I can earn almost double that amount. Its beneficial for me.”

Following defeats in key state elections in December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told parliament last month, “This truth has to be acknowledged. The unorganized sector has 80 to 85 percent of the employment.” He pointed to millions of commercial vehicles sold in recent years and questioned if they had not generated jobs for drivers.

Economists admit India’s large informal sector has made it difficult to calculate employment, but they say joblessness or underemployment remains the country’s biggest challenge. While scarcity of jobs is not a new problem, two disruptive economic steps in the last two years exacerbated the problem.

In 2016 a sweeping currency ban meant to tackle the problem of illegal cash, dried up jobs as it created huge currency shortages, particularly in small businesses and in the countryside. A poorly-implemented tax reform known as the Goods and Services Tax a few months later was another blow to businesses.

Meanwhile, Modi’s “Made in India” campaign, which aimed at making India a manufacturing hub like China, has made a slow start and sluggish labor-intensive sectors cannot cater to growing numbers of job seekers.

“We can’t keep patting ourselves on the back that we are the fastest growing economy specially if all these other indicators are not growing at a rate that will absorb the growing labor force,” says Santosh Mehrotra, a human development economist at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

Also Read: The Mental Health ‘Epidemic’: About Six in Ten Teen Say, They Feel A Lot Of Pressure To Get Good Grades

He points out that exports, another sector that created a number of jobs has also not been performing well.

As the campaign heats up, the opposition will try to keep the spotlight on jobs, or lack of them, even as the BJP tries to focus on national security following a recent confrontation with Pakistan. The final verdict on whether to give Prime Minister Modi a second term in office will be delivered by millions of voters when they cast their ballots. (VOA)

One response to “Are There Enough Jobs In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Led India?”

  1. If the employment picture is bleak despite the construction of so many more Kilometers of roads, railways, air ports, bridges, toilets and other infrastructures compared to the five or even ten years of UPA government, imagine where we would be if we had UPA III government .