It is a common notion that poverty in India is due to corruption. No! Corruption is just one in the list others are unemployment, over population..., in a complex social structure that too a caste based structure like ours, caste system proves to be a significant cause for poverty. One can confirm this to some extent because poorest of the poor belong to a suppressed class or the dalits.
Corruption obsession. [What noise of corruption has done]
“The corruption obsession also crowds out the debate on other crucial problems. A country's bankrupt educational system, malfunctioning hospitals or stagnating economy cannot compete with headlines about a corruption scandal. These problems may be aggravated by corruption, but they are created by conditions that often have little to do with the behavior of dishonest government officials. Even when such social ills rise to the top of the national agenda, the fight against corruption tends to inform the public debate. Inevitably, the public's understanding of what it would take to tackle other national priorities becomes clouded by the corruption obsession”
Since ages owing to its social structure and strong caste practices that are inherently discriminating in nature have rendered majority of India poor and can be understood from the below quotes of Vivekananda.
[I am quoting Vivekananda so that caste believers should not say I am biased, otherwise you can refer to romila, jadunath sarkar etc who have quoted more intensively from history]
Priest craft has had an impact on India via caste system. What is the kind of impact.
Swami Vivekananda said that one of the cause for the downfall of India has been the negligence of her poor masses for ages.
"I believe in helping the miserable. I consider that the great national sin is the neglect of the masses, and that is one of the causes of our downfall” [Swami Vivekananda]
Pooh! India is to be raised, the poor are to be fed, education is to be spread, and the evil of priest craft is to be removed. No priest craft, no social tyranny! [Swami Vivekananda]
Priest craft is the one that enforced caste system in India and is directly responsible for this massive discrimination that is never found in any part of the earth. Which can be confirmed from the below quote of vivekananda
"It is in the books written by priests that madnesses like that of caste are to be found, and not in books revealed from God". [Swami Vivekananda]
The Caste System in India [ Excerpt from a study]
IV.1. Economic State of Untouchables in India
“The caste system that was established in India forced many people who belong to the lower castes into poverty. There are approximately 180 million to 220 million people who are considered to be in the lowest caste in India (Ninian, 2008). These lower castes or ?Dalits? (broken people) are essentially shunned from society (Thekaekara, 2005). It is not that they have earned such isolation, they ?experience absolute exclusion from the cradle to the grave? (Thekaekara, 2005).
Many are forbidden to hold jobs because their caste may be one of an untouchable, or a person with basically no rights. Out of the 180-220 million Dalits, 40 million are essentially doing slave labor because they must work off the debts of their ancestors (Ninian, 2008). These people are taught to expect nothing in life but to work all day in the sun and hope that someone will buy their labor or produce, which is in fact uncommon because those of higher castes often refuse to touch anything an untouchable has touched. This practice is due to the reasoning that people feared that even a simple glance at an untouchable could pollute your standing in a higher caste position and aid in the eventual downgrade of caste in the next life (Standing, 2007). Because of this discrimination and work bondage, it is difficult for many people of a lower caste to have a steady income, therefore keeping them in extreme poverty.”
“Corruption has too easily become the universal diagnosis for a nation's ills. If we could only curtail the culture of graft and greed, we are told, many other intractable problems would easily be solved. But although it is true that corruption can be crippling, putting an end to the bribes, kickbacks, and payoffs will not necessarily solve any of the deeper problems that afflict societies.”
So one such deeper problem in India is caste system and its brutal practices enforced and continued even till today.
*) Thus we come to know that caste oppression since ages is the reason for majority India to be in state of poverty.
*) Corruption undoubtedly is also a reason for poverty, so if considered the below parameters
a) Caste system
c) corruption as chief factors
For a dalit cause of poverty and the degree of parameters affecting are in this order is a > b > c [Here c is almost negligible], Because he is discriminated, he is unemployed or employed in substandard jobs which does not allow him to fulfill his basic needs and further corruption does not allow him to get funds that he is entitled to, this is again due to caste system )
Corruption is no doubt a problem but its a problem to middleclass, Today, India's GDP is more than five times what it was in 1991. Its major cities are now home to an affluent professional class that commutes in new cars on freshly paved four-lane highways to jobs that didn't exist. But this affluence is not for Indian majority. Economic liberalization has not even nudged the lives of the country's bottom 200 million people .
Citations and Further reading
Poverty levels are highest among India’s tribal population (81.4 percent), followed by Dalits (65.8 percent) and Other Backward Classes (58.3 percent). The poverty level among the rest of the population is 33.3 percent.
What Noted columnist and an expert in rural issues P Sainath says [ http://prdti.org/media/p_sainath.html ]
"Only 16 per cent of dalits live in urban areas. The remaining 84 per cent, in rural India. The over 450 SC groups in the country represent an important and incredibly complex phenomenon. A people confronted by seemingly intractable problems brought on by millenia of exploitation, enforced poverty and deprivation."
Since obtaining independence in 1947, Indian governments have been deeply concerned with widespread poverty and have implemented various anti-poverty schemes. However, rural poverty remains persistent, with the headcount ratio being 30.2 percent in 1999/2000 (Deaton, 2003a). Particularly troubling is the concentration of rural poverty in India in the “scheduled caste” (SC) and “scheduled tribe” (ST) populations.1 The presence of such disparity in the incidence ofpoverty and widespread discrimination against scheduled groups have long histo-ries in India. Affirmative action programs have been at the core of Indian social policy directed toward scheduled groups.Our focus is on rural poverty. Most of India’s poor live in rural areas. Also, we can observe classification of SC, ST and non-scheduled households more clearly in rural areas.
Poverty tends to be characterized by the denial of rights as well as material insufficiency.
The caste system in India is a traditional drag on society since early times. Some castes seem to suffer from a feeling that all human beings are not equal. This superiority complex among some castes has brought a situation in which the untouchables are the poorest among the poor and suffer as bonded labor, child labor and prostitution.
It was only after independence that the government carried out certain legal reforms to abolish untouchability and to reserve seats in schools and colleges for the scheduled and backward communities. The major part of the benefits has, however, been grabbed by a few privileged Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes. The poorest still remain poor
World Development book case study: the dalit minority in India
More than 60 years after gaining independence, India is still very much afflicted by the cancer of the caste system. Dalits remain the most vulnerable, marginalized and brutalized community in the country.
Dalits remain the most vulnerable, marginalized and brutalized community in the country
India's elephant in the room: The success of Slumdog Millionaire obscures the real cause of poverty in India – the caste system
The Caste System: Effects on Poverty in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka
Discrimination - Hidden causes of poverty in India Caste-based segregation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_system_in_India, Excerpt for the above link: A 1995 study suggests that the caste system in India must be viewed as a system of exploitation of poor low-ranking groups by ore prosperous high-ranking groups.