Lies, damned lies, and statistics

An article titled ‘More than 135 million Indians escaped from poverty between 2015-2019’ has been published in the portal

There are two problems accepting this assertion (1) The source is Niti Aaayog, a Govt of India body, which would naturally like to paint a rosy picture of the country (2) Statistics in India are highly questionable, as it is very difficult to verify them.

There is an aphorism of Mark Twain ” lies, damned lies, and statistics ”.

This aphorism squarely applies to India, as it is a pretty disorganised country. Moreover it is so vast,, with 1400 million people, that it is difficult to get accurate figures, often even by a neutral unbiased body, what to say of a Government of India agency. How many people are poor, how many unemployed, how many lack proper healthcare and good education, etc are impossible to verify accurately, or even to conjecture.

And what is the definition of poverty ? Since prices of essential commodities have steeply escalated in India in recent years, and incomes have not correspondingly increased ( assuming they have increased at all ), it is obvious that poverty has increased ( since incomes are relative to the price index ).

Global Hunger Index, which is a reputed international agency reporting on world hunger, reported that half of Indian children are malnourished, wasted and/or stunted. India (which has a population of 1400 million ) has slipped from position number 101 to 107 in just one year ( 2021-2022 ) among the 121 countries surveyed by that international agency,countries%20covered%20in%20the%20GHI.

Over 55% of our women are anaemic

Tens of millions of our young men and women are without jobs? If 100 class 4 ( peon or unskilled manual labour ) govt jobs are advertised, there are often several hundred thousand applicants, many of them having M.Sc M.A., or M.B.A. degrees ( some even Ph.D. ), engineers, etc.

Proper healthcare and good education is almost non-existent for the masses. Private hospitals and clinics are too expensive for the masses, and the condition of the govt ones is terrible (to say the least ). Even the All India Instititute of Medical Sciences ), New Delhi ( AIIMS ), a premier Indian medical institute, looks like a railway station, with thousands of sick people waiting outside endlessly, and usually with perfunctory care, if any. The condition of most schools in India is terrible.

It is sometimes claimed that GDP in India is growing, but no one asks who is getting the fruits of that growth, the Indian masses, or just a handful of big businessmen and international corporates ? The gap between rich and poor has widened in India, with a handful of big businessmen becoming richer ( often by illegal means ) while the poor get poorer ( because of escalating prices of food, etc ).

Oxfam India’s report directly contradicts the report of Niti Aayog,3%25%20of%20the%20country’s%20wealth.

Other sources also contradict Niti Aayog’s claim.

Rich-poor gap worsening in India

So whom is one to believe ? One’s mind boggles.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here