Memoranda for Submission to the Chief Ministers of the Two Telugu States.


Inequality, Poverty and Population


Inequality, Poverty and Population

Dr  T H Chowdary *


In the article, “ Looking Beyond Business” (Bhavan’s Journal Nov 30, 2022) figures showing how the wealth of  nations is increasingly getting into the hands of  lesser percent of the population indicating expanding inequality.  Poverty has been a permanent phenomenon since the beginning of civilization. In Bharat the  poor are even  deified as a word  “Daridra Narayan” indicates .   Jesus Christ preached that “the poor will inherit the earth” and the well to do should pay tithe.  Prophet Mohammad  prescribed zakats contribution  to relive the  poor.  A Nobel  prize winning scientist while explaining  the radio noise, theorised  that “noise”, like the poor, will always be with us  in radio signals “.  In nations with free, liberal economic regimes  the well educated  and talented become wealthier faster than the  rest .  The less educated, less talented from the  already poor families , especially with far more children that  the well -to -do , will also have  increasing incomes  that a welfare state enables ; their  incomes  rise slower that those of the  talented thus increasing inequality. A welfare state like India strives to enable the  poor to  live in painless poverty  by giving more and more free- bees with every general election.


2. Unchecked population growth seriously  militates against poverty reduction and employment provision. Many in so called  forward castes  and the rich have one child ,   give the  child best education in costly “ international” or  that level schools within India and abroad. So those families become  entrepreneurial   and affluent, garnering  a huge fraction of nation’s  wealth . The possible revolt of the poor is prevented by “ painless poverty schemes” of welfare like food security -  more than  800 mln people in India are  given 10 items  free; increasing number of  poor house- holds are given free electricity,  water, ; mlns  of poor old  people get pensions….


3. Poverty can be reduced and inequality can be controlled only by a National Population Policy  under which  family size is controlled by statute  and the  norm  revised  as  economic prosperous and such growing  economy sustained by  enough number of working age people. 


China’s emergence as the world’s second largest  economy ,  growing to be number one  soon,  is mainly due to its  population policy linking with   economy and  aspiration.   It enforces one- child  norm from the mid- 1970s until 2002;  then  it prescribed two children  per family until  2020 and now it wants every  family to have  3 children so that it has enough number of working age people to  sustain China  as the  world’s largest economy.


4. It is apt to recall Dr B.R Ambedkar’s position in   regard  to  poverty & population as spelt out in the  1952 Election Manifesto of  the Schedule Caste Federation of which he was the President. He held that poverty and population are two aspects of eth same problem.  The Manifesto reads:


Para - 9  :  “The problem of poverty is thus a double edged problem . From one point of view, it is a  problem of more  production both in agriculture and industry. From another point of view, it is  a problem of controlling the excessive growth of population;  both sides are equally important. SCF proposes to fight battle against poverty on both fronts”.


Para-10 : “For the purpose of reducing  population, it  would  advocate an intensive  propaganda in favour of  birth control among the people. It will advocate the opening of  birth control clinics in different parts of the country. It regards the growing rate in the increase of  population  in the country so grave and an evil that it would not hesitate to advocate more  drasting methods of controlling it".  (Source:  The book, Ambedkar: An Economist Extraordinaire by Narendra Jadav,  Konark Publishes  Pvt Ltd., New Delhi,  Seattle 2015)



5. Deng Tsio Ping, the Chinese liberalizer  famously said, “ that some people have to become  rich before the poor can be uplifted” .  In the third week of Jan 2023  India’s population overtook  China’s  whose economy and per capita income are  more than  five times those of India.  China’s population started reducing  now  while that of ours especially among the poor and Muslims is increasing.  So property and  inequality  are not getting reduced . It is grievous that  apparently intelligent  journalists and  vote-hunting populist politicians are not speaking  and writing about our unchecked growth  in our population  as if  to be  politically correct  and as a taboo .  The least objectionable way we enforce  one or two child norm  can be  on the ground that  our  as  yet  poor country can implement welfare programs  for poor families with one-child only.  Unless we address the  population problem,   poverty, unemployment  and inequality  cannot be mitigated. (780 words)