While India aims at creating milestones in space, poverty is still one of the major roadblocks back home. More than a quarter of the population living in rural areas of India is below the poverty line. Out of the total population living in the rural parts of 35 states and UTs of India, 25.7 per cent of them is living below the poverty line, according to RBI. In the urban areas, the situation is a bit better with 13.7 per cent of the population living below the poverty line. Altogether, around 22 percent of the Indian population is carrying out its livelihood, while being below the poverty line.
The situation becomes even worse in the rural areas of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where, as high as 45 per cent of the population live below the poverty line. The grim picture of India’s heartland has not only affected the people living in rural areas but has also kept the growth subdued for the entire economy. Rural economy accounts for 60 per cent of the entire economy and that makes it very important for it to play a major role in painting a shinier macroeconomic picture.
Even amid the ongoing demand-led slowdown in India, a fall in the rural demand has troubled many giant companies, leading to a slump in their sales and eventually profits. Rural India contributes to 37 percent of overall FMCG consumption in the country, which itself explains the impact of a low disposable income in the rural areas. Meanwhile, the high poverty rate in rural areas has also persisted due to a lack of inclusive economic growth where the last person is also benefitted if the macroeconomy is registering growth.