The Rich And The Poor

The police killed a 29-year old man and riots broke out in Tottenham, North London. Soon, the riots spread to other parts of the country. 5 civilians were killed and many got injured. News channels provided hourly updates about the incident. The killing of the 29-year old man acted as a trigger to the bomb that was waiting to explode. The youths from the African-Caribbean community started the riots because they were frustrated with the high unemployment rates in the areas inhabited by them in the country.

On 11th August, 2011, three farmers were killed in India by police firing when they blocked a highway while protesting against land acquisition by the government. The police are not answerable to anyone. A few Indian news channels covered the incident, and others concentrated on London riots. The reason being that the country witnesses many such incidents every now and then. But, the riots in London is a rare incident.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the index used to measure the output of a country. Its growth is seen as the growth of the economy. India’s GDP grew at 7.8% in the first quarter of 2011, which is quite impressive keeping in mind the global average. But there are other indicators of a country’s growth. These are Per Capita GDP, Income inequality, unemployment, and Human Development Index (HDI), which is calculated by the UNO. Except GDP, India lacks in all other performance indicators. The unemployment rate is 10.8% (7.7% in UK, which is considered as the reason behind the youths’ frustration), and the HDI rank is 122 (UK stands at 26th). The infant mortality rate is very high, thanks to improper health and medical facilities; the life expectancy at birth is 64yrs as compared to 80.5yrs in UK; adult literacy rate is 63%; only 31% of the population has the access to improved sanitation facilities; 42% of the population is below international poverty line (US $ 1.25 per day); but hey! the economic growth rate is 7.8%. Here lies the difference between India and UK.

Even though the growth rates of rich countries are low, they have very high standards of living. And this is all what matters in the end, isn’t it? A common man just wants a peaceful life without being concerned with the country’s ‘growth rate’. He just wants to meet his basic needs without facing any troubles. Economists in countries like India need to focus more on the development of the social sector with keeping the economic growth at a moderate level. Too much focus on economic growth can lead to a loss of vision and can build up an adverse situation for the generations to follow.

As a writer of this article, I have taken utmost care to provide the most accurate data available, and the views expressed by me are personal.