Even after so many years of independence, poverty has not completely vanished from India. With efforts of non-governmental organisations and government subsidies, the percentage of poor people has gradually decreased in the past 50 years. Similarly, in Haryana, the percentage of people living below poverty line (BPL) reduced from 14% in 2004-05 to 11.16% in 2011-12. However, there are about 28.83 lakh people still struggling to survive each day.
Poverty is a stigma to the society. Even though, according to the United Nations, there is enough food available in the world for everyone's sustenance, about 21,000 people lose their lives every day due to hunger or malnutrition. This shows the wide gap existing between the rich and the poor. In order to combat this serious issue, a lot of money is spent by governments and not-for-profit agencies fighting the cause of poverty. Every government in power spends hundreds and thousands of crores on launching schemes like mid-day meals, free and compulsory education, mandatory employment, free health treatments, and housing for BPL for alleviating poverty. However, despite such noble initiatives for the people living below poverty line, they still seem to be in the worst of conditions. Somehow the benefits do not seem to reach them.
In a recent report, it was found that the Dal Roti Scheme, which aimed at providing food to the BPL people, had several irregularities in its distribution. Another report showed that the housing scheme announced by the government had flaws that allowed people to buy the flats made exclusively for the people below poverty line. These are just a few examples of the problems related to the people living in poverty. These clearly demonstrate the inaccuracies in the administrative system, which was originally set up to disburse benefits to the BPL. It seems like schemes and BPL benefits help the distributors, officials and others more than they help those for whom these were announced.
In order to address the issues of delivering benefits to the deserving Haryanvis living below poverty line, distributing BPL ration cards etc. is an incomplete solution. In fact, in yet another report, it was found that about 1.69 lakh BPL cards were issued to people of Haryana and Punjab who were ineligible. BPL cards, thus, can only help if their issuance is properly done. There needs to be a regularly monitored transparent solution that will identify the deserving people living in extreme poverty. Each village and tehsil needs to have a dedicated BPL establishment to personally and immediately address the poverty related issues. A transparent system that accounts for each scheme and food grain reaching the right BPL person is critical for ripping away poverty in Haryana.
In conclusion, all that can be said is that if the entire public distribution system, government and concerned officials work with honesty, and there is an effective monitoring of the delivery, Haryana will be free of the curse of poverty. Naya Haryana requires sincere and reliable efforts towards alleviating the poverty of people.