New Delhi, Sep 30 (UNI) Noted journalist and Raman Magsaysay award winner P Sainath today said inequality in India is growing faster than software or Information Technology.
At the inauguration of 'Linking Latitudes 2007'-- India today -- a conference involving over 300 teachers and educators from India and Australia, Mr Sainath said in the past 15 years inequality in India has grown much faster as compared to the 50 years after Independence.
He said ''our billionares are the second richest in the world next only to the US in net asset worth, but still 836 million people in India are living on less than Rs 20 per day. Ironically, those who are living on less than Rs 12 per day are considered below poverty line by our government.'' Mr Sainath said that although India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world yet ''life expectancy in our country is lower than Bolivia and Kazakhstan, countries far behind in economic development.'' He also pointed out that in the last two decades labour productivity in India has increased by 84 per cent but real wages have decreased by 22 per cent.
Mr Sainath said Indian agriculture is in the biggest crisis since the time of Green Revolution adding, on one side ''we have farmhouses bigger than the countries like Luxembourg'' but on another side 40 per cent poor are landless agriculturists.
Speaking on the occasion, Australian High Commissioner to India John McCarthy said India is now among top seven countries of the world but still has a long way to go.
"India's growth rate is more than 9 per cent but it will be hard to maintain because main political parties are getting weaker and coalition government in any country diminishes the capacity of the government to push reform process,'' he said.
Terming India a soft country, Mr MacCarthy said internal as well as external security problems are biggest barriers on the road of development for the country.
Pointing out Australia was the second biggest destination after United States for the Indian students, he emphasised the need for people-to-people links at grassroots level, for which this conference was a major platform.
The Linking Latitudes confrence, will be held from September 30 to October 4 in Delhi and Agra. The five-day conference is designed around key themes including future India, education India, democratic India, global India and world heritage India.