Friday, January 15, 2010

Sacred place Varanasi and Poverty

Varanasi is a one of the oldest places in India. The district has plain and fertile land where thousands of tonne grains are producing every year but on the other hand many peoples are suffering from Hunger and Starvation. Why and how people are suffering from hunger in Varanasi? The development indicators are showing that Varanasi is developing very smoothly every year about 100 thousands of tourists are coming here from different parts of the world. Special Economic Zone and High Tech City Projects are implementing there. The domestic airport developed and now international airlines are also accessing. Then what is the reason behind the deaths of hunger and starvation? When I was thinking about these things I tried to find out the reason. I did not found the exact reason but what I got is the caste based land ownership and caste system is responsible for these deaths. In Varanasi and other districts of Uttar Pradesh Province has same type of land distribution that is upper caste and some middle caste who are known as other backward class are only owning the land Scheduled Caste peoples are landless. What was the reason behind such type of land distribution is not very clear but it seems that it was the way for implementing the Varn Vyawastha (Caste System) of Mr. Manu. I am not trying to presume what were those things behind caste based ownership of land, because there were no evidences are available and I did not found any research also. But what I would like to mention here that, what is the current situation of this district. I was just surfing the BPL Census-2002 Complete Household Survey Reports and I found that there is 9257 house holds whose monthly income is less then 250 Indian Rupees (5.79369 US Dollar) and 69095 house holds has less then 500 Indian Rupees (11.5848 US Dollar) and 97403 house holds has less then 1500 Indian Rupees (34.7549 US Dollar) monthly income. How these 9257 families will survive when they have less then 250 Indian Rupees per month? Means even if they have Antyodaya Ration Card they cannot buy rations from the public distribution systems shop because for 35 kilo grams of grain they have to pay 195 Indian Rupees in cash. Shop keeper is not providing grains on installments. In this situation they do not have any way other then sleeping with empty stomach.
In Varanasi there are 3179 families who have less than one square meal per day for major part of the year. There are 3264 families who have normally, one square meal per day but less than one square meal occasionally; these all families are scheduled caste families who are suppose to get protection and security. In this situation how a child can grow as healthy child? Recently central government of India declares that all districts are covered by National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in which they have guarantee of 100 days of employment in a year. It is a good scheme but how much it is going to succeed it is hard to say because every label of government machinery has corruption.
In this situation till today India government does not have any policy for eliminating poverty and land reforms. If India government and state government is not going to take any serious step for these peoples that day is not very far when Varanasi have situation like Kalahari.
All data is from BPL Census-2002 Complete Household Survey Reports.

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