August 13, 2017

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POVERTY AND SLUMS

We can see slums in most of the big and crowded cities in the world. Even in the developed countries, there exist urban slum district in which the poor and destitute people live e.g. The U S A, India etc. We find the slums in the poverty-stricken countries most.  A slum is an area or district of a city where poor people live and the buildings are in bad condition.  No sewage, no drinking water and no electricity supply for the slum people .Their human settlement is awfully low and the dwellings are awesomely dirty. Due to lack of proper sanitation and unhygienic neighborhood, the slum people are prone to infection and epidemic such as cholera. This is the dreadful impact of slums areas in Metropolis. To be more precise, a slum is a thickly or densely populated, run-down, squalid part of a city, inhabited by poor people. It also refers to shanty town. These poor people live in improvised dwellings made from scrap materials- often plywood, corrugated metal, and sheets of plastic. How many people in the world live in slums? It is hard to figure out the total number of them as there are many poor people in the urban and rural areas in the world. The root cause is poverty and the poverty rate seems greater in the world. The issues of slums and poverty are closely intertwined. There is no guarantee that the lives of slum people will be upgraded. They are in utter despair and in miserable life, facing appalling hardship for their survival. The significant conditions of increasing slums are caused by population explosion, growing number of migration from rural areas to urban areas, unemployment problems, high cost of living in urban areas, mismanagement for upgrading the slum districts (e.g. Proper housing plans), lack of poverty alleviation program and lack of proper medical services, ineffectual governments, corrupt governments, unkind governments and lack of social security. These people are on low-income and their homes are substandard with no essential facilities installed for human dwelling.
The poor parents cannot send their children to schools and the governments concerned do not expand the state-owned schools and they do not provide free education ranging from primary level to secondary level. Their standard of living is extremely low and they are uneducated and some are even illiterate. So, they cannot expect their future prospect. They could merely survive and live on earth, but nothing more.
The movie named Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Director Danny Boyle, portrays the life of proletariat in slums in India, encountering hardship and hopeless conditions. The word ‘A slumdog ‘is slang for a person that is poor or will never come upon wealth. The horrendous living conditions of people in the slums can be seen in some big cities of the big countries. Obviously, the alleviation of poverty is not an easy task both for big and small countries. Normally, rural people are poorer than urban people. As there is lack of job opportunity in rural areas, rural people cannot earn more money than the urbanites. So, they move to towns or cities to seek odd jobs and stay in slum areas in big cities. Thus, they can barely eat, sleep and do the odd jobs as low- wage earners. The governments concerned are not able to upgrade their lives or livelihood. However much the governments have pledged to alleviate poverty in their countries, they cannot implement the schemes practically. The rural people and slum people still remain poor and hopeless for their future prospect.
When we do the case study for the causes of poverty based on some countries, we find the following circumstances. For examples; the country is big and the population is also great. As its economy is not developed, there exist slum districts and poverty. If a certain country’s wealth is not proportionately shared for its citizens or if it is not exercising welfare-economics, poverty will prevail in that country. The country’s economy is developed but, unfortunately, the government of a certain country is notoriously corrupt, ruthless and selfish. In that case, the poverty rate is greater in that country due to lack of government’s support. If a country is poor and there are no favorable climatic conditions for growing crops and producing food, the people are starving and begging foods, aid and loans from the rich countries. So, this is the worst situation in the world. In some countries, the governments are clean, kind, and honest, but these countries are always hit by natural disasters. In that case, despite the rehabilitations, the poverty cannot be alleviated. No matter rich or poor country, when equality and justice are absent in a certain country, the poverty and slums can be vividly seen. Actually, they are local inhabitants who lose their rights to enjoy privileges in their own country. They are the human resources to develop their country’s economy by participating in national tasks with their capacity. Unless they are allowed or trained to work for suitable occupations or employment, the certain country loses its human resources. The governments concerned must be clever enough to solve this problem. If the governments fail to tackle this problem, they will surely face the very disastrous consequences. The slum clearance schemes should be effectively implemented and the subsequent aid program for the inhabitants should be done properly.
As for Myanmar, the slum does not become an important issue to be mentioned. Actually, there is no significant slum both in rural and in urban areas. There are some squatters who illegally settled on a section of land in big cities or in new satellite towns. The regional or divisional governments evict the squatters from the occupied land and provide them a suitable settlement or estate. The eviction is a legal action and the poor must have legal right to settle on Myanmar soil since they are Myanmar citizens. However, poverty and impoverishment can still be seen in rural, remote and coastal areas in Myanmar. The present government is striving to narrow the great gap between the rich and the poor. The Myanmar government is creating job opportunities in the huge plantation projects, factories, farm lands and mining projects in the areas where the local people inhabit. They can make their living in these areas and get some fringe benefits provided by the government. There was no one who died of starvation in Myanmar. This means that Myanmar has sufficient food to consume on daily basis and people are kind to donate who are homeless or starving. Besides that, we do not have food-shortage and fresh- water scarcity problems in Myanmar. According to geographic conditions, we have plenty of habitable lands .Very few derelicts, paupers and beggars with disabilities can be seen in the metropolis or in small towns in Myanmar. There is no huge challenge of slum settlements in Metropolis in Myanmar, but the government has planned to eliminate the poverty as quick as possible. It is an obligation for the government to stabilize the prices of commodities because they have been skyrocketing for a number of years. As a result, the cost of living in Metropolis in Myanmar is getting higher. This affects urbanites and rural people bitterly. At present, the standard of living in rural areas is improving as they can get access to electricity, telecommunications, internet connection and modern farming method and micro finance services. In addition, the farmers in rural areas can borrow money with low interest rates from micro finance services and cooperative banks for their livelihood. At the same time, the mechanization of farming makes the agricultural productivity increase and the farmers can also increase their income. Thus, they can upgrade their living standard properly.  Myanmar is solving the issue of slum settlements and poverty with concerted efforts. The present government is making the relentless and serious efforts for alleviating poverty in Myanmar. Undoubtedly, Myanmar can reduce the poverty rate with this gaining momentum. This is the real situation in Myanmar and it is absolutely encouraging and impressive.
We should not neglect slum people as they lose the privileges and rights of the citizens. We need to help them and promote their lives with humanitarian aid while the respective governments are striving to alleviate the poverty within their own countries. If the country is very poor, UN and the donor countries should help the poor people relieve the pains and trouble of poverty to some degree. If the governments, capitalists, cronies, donors and philanthropists are in unison to support alleviating poverty and slums, we can lessen the slum areas and reduce the poverty rate on earth definitely. Wishing this noble service for mankind a great success!!!!!

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