The agile old man walking barefoot with his stick in 1943, looked at the slums of filth and garbage, and saw the young men standing idly by;  one of them looked at him cautiously with defiance. The old man turned to his companion and said: “Poverty is the worst form of violence”.  And the Mahatma continued his journey  on foot to the eastern shores of the country, realizing that after the oppressors left,  poverty would soon be the next challenge.

In 1994 the Pulitzer prize winning  photographer Kevin Carter was in Sudan, near a UN food camp, and saw an event that made him feel sick and disgusted. A small child, a girl, was crawling to the camp, some 200 metres away,  and following her, waiting for her demise, stalked a vulture  similar to our ‘John Crow”, the final arbiter of death. He took a photograph which brought this abject poverty of Africa to the western press, and won him the Pulitzer Prize for photography.

In the summer of 2013,  Prime Minister of India  Dr. Manmohan Singh  decided to implement action which cost his Government

$28 billion dollars. The action was to make available to India’s poor, produce of grain including  wheat, corn, rice, and maize; this gave 650,000 people five kilos per month of whatever mixture they needed for a price of one rupee to five rupees. This measure is an attempt to alleviate poverty and hunger of the poorest in his country. This action had to be vetted by the Indian Parliament, who signed the Ordinance.

But resolving poverty is the key in  creating order, and resolving many other affiliated social ills.

Dr. Singh said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 30th remarked:  “‘The problem of one billion poor persons around  the world need to be attacked more directly.  Eradication of Poverty requires special attention and a new collective thrust. This priority should anchor the post-2015 Development Agenda of the UN, which should be shaped by the member states so that it enjoys the broadest possible support and acceptance.

 Issues of peace, security, human rights and governance are important and need also to be addressed. But we will fall short of realizing an ambitious post-2015 development agenda if we focus merely on governance issues at the cost of robust economic growth, (which is needed to feed the poor).””  India is pleased with its partnerships in  developing countries. Using modest resources, they  have built strong ties with Africa and the Least Developed Countries.

India’s trade exchanges with Africa are expected to touch US$90-100 billion by 2015, with the balance of trade in favour of Africa. New Delhi is also shifting its investments in procuring energy away from the increasingly unstable West Asia and into Africa. At 17 per cent, Africa is currently the second largest of crude oil imports for India. 

Indian companies are increasingly active in such oil-rich regions as Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, Egypt, Angola and Gabon. Indian private companies and public sector units already have oil investments in Mozambique and investments in the gas sector in Kenya and Tanzania.

India is also involved in building critical rail and road infrastructure in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda. And Africa is becoming a key destination for Indian investments in the software, telecom, and financial sectors. China and India are partnering with Malaysia in a joint venture in the Greater Nile Oil Project of Sudan. 

(Anirudh Menon,KPMG)


  1. Ramesh Sujanani
    January 14, 2014 at 2:07 am #

    Ok that post is Manmohan’s: “At the edge of poverty and hunger” which is now revised to “No Poverty, Know Peace”

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