Life below the poverty line

Graphics made by Chiara Valenzuela

As tiresome and displeasing staying inside our homes may be for a majority of us, we tend to forget the current state of those who are not fortunate enough to own a house. With no roof over their heads and a minimal amount of money, a staggeringly high number of migrant workers in India were left to sleep on the road for days.

India is a developing country, and most of its towns are constantly transitioning into megacities and metropolitans. This development requires the involvement of hundreds of labourers, and due to the current COVID-19 lockdown, thousands of these daily wage workers lost their jobs overnight.

With over 40 million migrant workers in India, it was extremely difficult for them to have a smooth journey back to their home states. Because of the imposed regulations, finding cheap, efficient transport was a difficult task. Many even spent days walking back to their home states; some covered a mile, others ended up walking a few thousand.

Seeing beggars on a street isn’t an uncommon sight. Their cries and pleadings have no visible effect on most people passing the area. For them, it’s another beggar asking for 10 bucks but for the beggar, those 10 bucks would get him his first meal in 4 days.

The daily life of any migrant worker can be strenuous. A major of them shift to bigger cities early in their life for better exposure and opportunities. But due to the influence of the social hierarchy and economic immobility, most of them are left working 10-hour shifts at factories for a minimum wage.

For years, India, along with countless other countries has failed to provide proper education and services to the poverty-stricken rural population. To put into perspective, the poverty line in rural India is Rs 1,059 (USD 14) a month. With such a low income, it becomes nearly impossible for the poor to get a proper education and get a well-paying job. Innumerable dreams are shattered every single day, solely because most of the population lacks access to proper resources.

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