The business of fixing poverty runs into billions of dollars (the budget of the rural development ministry, which oversees most anti-poverty initiatives, is nearly Rs.100,000 crore) and there is obviously a lot at stake if poverty is no longer the country’s primary social and developmental challenge.

The key stakeholders in this business of fighting poverty are the government of the day and the political party behind it (the Congress, in particular has, for a long time, maybe since the late Indira Gandhi coined the Garibi Hatao, or remove poverty, slogan, championed and won political power on the cause of the poor); multilateral lending agencies such as the World Bank that have made the fight against poverty their calling card; the jholawallah activists who have often made a living and career out of fighting for the poor; and of course those of my ilk (particularly my western counterparts who, until recently appreciated only poverty in any journalistic piece on India), who have peddled the compelling narratives on India’s poor. Read More