India possesses the potential to be a very powerful and economically sound nation. And the opportunity to make that happen lies at the doorstep of India's leaders. 71% of the population—800 million people—are below 35 years of age. It is full of young people. It can be moved with a positive leadership. India's growth is driven by only a fraction of its population. Much of the nation remains a picture of rural poverty and urban squalor. A handful of well placed Indians will not be able to pull the hundreds of millions out of the grinding poverty. Indian leadership from the village to the municipal level, all the way up to the highest offices in the North Block and South Block of India's capital have little real understanding of what it would take to make India a nation that cares for all of its people. They indeed have little intent to achieve such a goal.
At present 94% of India's children drop out of school before completion of the 12th grade. This is largely because of poverty and the lack of opportunities that await them once they finish education. There is widespread unemployment among the 6% successful ones who go in for a regular college degree.
Te situation in rural agricultural India is becoming desperate. Over the last 3 years, at least 950,000 farmers—nearly a million! have committed suicide! One observer points out that currently, seven to eight farmers commit suicide in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh alone every day.
It must be understood that a large number of people who are "considered" by Indian leaders not to be poor are, in reality, abysmally poor. For instance, the minimum income required, as per the World Bank's assessment, to live above the poverty line, for underdeveloped countries like India or China, is about $1 per day or about Rs50 a day. But the Indian government's poverty line definition, is earning around Rs.12 or so per day, which translates to approximately Rs.360 per month! ($6) More than half of the entire Indians are below the poverty line! They are abysmally poor and live in squalor and filth.
Rising social tension because of the growing income disparity between a sea of extremely poor and a decent number of middle class, is either not noticed, or ignored, by a rudderless leadership. There are definite signals that the hundreds of millions of poor could turn violent. No wonder the Maoists are gaining ground in Bihar, jungles of Madya Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, W. Bengal, Jharkhand , Chhattisgarh, and even Tamil Nadu. There is a limit for the selfishness of Indian leadership who care only for themselves.