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670 million in rural areas live on Rs.33 per day: SECC

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New Delhi: Seventy-five per cent of rural households in India have a monthly income of less than Rs.5,000 ($79), 51 per cent of households make a living from manual labour, 28 per cent (over 50 million) of households do not have mobile phones or any form of communication.

More than 70 million rural households face some form of exclusion, either from assets or socio-economic benefits, according to data released by the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) survey last week. As many as 833 million Indians, or 69 per cent of the population, live in rural areas.

The SECC report comes at a time when global credit rating agencies such as Moody’s have warned that slow growth in rural India may cripple the overall economy. Rating agencies have laid stress on speeding rural reforms.

Rural Poor and Sources of Income

More than half of rural households depend on manual labour for livelihood, and 75 per cent of the rural population, or 133.5 million families, earn less than Rs.5,000 per month.

“A preliminary analysis reveals a grim picture of rural areas with three in four rural households earning less than Rs.5,000 per month and almost 90 per cent of households have incomes of less than Rs.10,000 per month,” Himanshu (he uses only one name), an agricultural economist with Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University wrote in Mint, citing the findings of the Arjun Sengupta committee (2007), which identified 77 per cent of India’s population as poor.

“Overlooked by the media, these numbers are very close to the estimates of poor and vulnerable derived from other estimates based on the consumption surveys of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). Rs.5,000 per month per household with an average household size of five would also mean an income of Rs.33 per person per day in the rural areas,” wrote Himanshu.

Although it is not meant to be a comparison of poverty estimates, the SECC data reveals that about 670 million Indians in rural areas alone live on Rs.33 per day (75 percent of rural households is around 134,373,569 households; five members per household gives us a total of 671,867,845 people).

rural kutcha village

Poor housing quality

A little less than half of the houses in rural India are kuccha (not solid).

Having a pucca (permanent) house is an indicator of a higher standard of living.

Poverty and a low standard of living are reflected in asset ownership.  While 71 percent of village households have mobile phones, refrigerators and motor vehicles are not very common in rural households.

Education Levels

IndiaSpend recently reported how rural India has more illiterate people than the population of Indonesia. With 74 percent of families living on less than Rs.5,000 a month, this will not change immediately, which in turn will keep economic standards depressed.

Projects such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) and Swachh Bharat Mission are the major schemes for rural development in India.

Rural India continues to be trapped in a vicious circle of poverty.  A clue to the first step to break out of that cycle comes from what is called the graduation model, a global experiment that could become an anti-poverty guide for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

(IANS/IndiaSpend)

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World Hunger To Rise Due To Climate Change: WFP

The number of people suffering from hunger because of climate change-induced drought is rising particularly in Africa and Latin America.

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Malnourished and displaced Somali children sit in a tent in their camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. VOA

The World Food Program warns climate change will have a devastating impact on agriculture and the ability of people to feed themselves. The WFP forecasts a huge increase in worldwide hunger unless action is taken to slow global warming.

The WFP warns progress in reducing global hunger is under threat by conflict and the increase in climate disasters. For the first time in several decades, the WFP reports the number of people suffering from chronic food shortages has risen.

This year, it says, 821 million people went to bed hungry, 11 million more than the previous year.

World Hunger, WFP
Gatdin Bol, 65, who fled fighting and now survives by eating fruit from the trees, sits under a tree in the town of Kandak, South Sudan. VOA

Gernot Laganda, WFP’s chief of Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction, notes the number of climate disasters has more than doubled since the early 1990s. He says extreme weather events are driving more people to flee their homes, leading to more hunger.

He told VOA the situation will get much worse as global temperatures rise.

“We are projecting that with a two-degree warmer world, we will have around 189 million people in a status of food insecurity more than today. And, if it is a four-degrees warmer world, which is possible if no action is taken, we are looking beyond one billion more. So, there is a very, very strong argument for early and decisive climate action,” said Laganda.

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Faduma Hussein Yagoub, a polio sufferer, came with her family to Dadaab from Somalia. Her husband and two of her five young children died of hunger on the way. Despite the dangers thousands of refugees every week are making the journey, walking for weeks across the desert and braving attacks by armed robbers and wild animals:

Data from this year’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report by six leading U.N. agencies show the bulk of losses and damages in food systems are due to drought and most of these disastrous events occur in Africa.

Also Read: Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

Laganda says the number of people suffering from hunger because of climate change-induced drought is rising particularly in Africa and Latin America. He notes that until recently progress in Asia had led to a reduction in world hunger, but that trend has slowed markedly. (VOA)