We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to poverty in India. It is everywhere. It can be seen in our maid’s tattered clothes. It can be seen on the dust clinging to the children playing outside a construction site. It can be seen in the expression of the waiter serving us coffee and the old woman who appeals to us for a few coins at the traffic signal. Yes, in a country that lays claims to a third of the world’s poor, it certainly is difficult to avoid looking at poverty straight in the eye.
So we meet poor people every day. And sometimes their actions and choices leave us befuddled. The car cleaner who can barely afford to feed his family has a television at home! The laundry woman who ekes a meagre living boasts of inviting guests often and cooking elaborate meals for them. How do they afford these ‘luxuries’?
Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo had similar questions. To get the answers, they set up their award-winning Poverty Action Lab and conducted randomized control trials to understand why the poor make the decisions they do. The results and their inferences are brilliantly documented in a monumental work on poverty from across the world titled ‘Poor Economics: Rethinking Poverty and the Ways to End It’.
This week our readers have a chance to win a copy of this insights book! To participate, all you have to do is tell us of any interesting innovations that you have come across impacting the poor in India, or any fascinating observations that you might want to share on the topic of poverty in India.
You could send in your entries on our Twitter feed or Facebook page. Or just write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org The best entries will be broadcast to all our readers. The contest is on till 8th April 2013. Brought to you in association with Random House India.