Ecumenical News International

"Bread for the World": India's poor are to profit from growth

April 9, 2015

New Delhi/Hanover (epd). According to Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, president of the German church development agency Bread for the World, India needs to step up its efforts in the battle against poverty. Strong economic growth alone will not improve the social situation, she told the Protestant press agency (epd) in New Delhi. She was speaking at the end of a visit to India in view of the imminent visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open the Hanover Trade Fair: "India should plan its growth path so that the poorest also benefit from it."

India has the highest number of poor people world wide: "About 800 million people have to manage on less than two dollars a day. Over 300 million of them are extremely poor, with at most one dollar," Füllkrug-Weitzel declared. Growth should not be at the expense of the environment either. "India should be encouraged and assisted to go for renewable energy sources when expanding its energy supply, instead of coal and nuclear energy," she underlined.

The president of Bread for the World called for unambiguous words by the Indian head of government when it came to the protection of human rights. Prime Minister Modi should finally take a clear line regarding the attacks on Christians and Muslims by Hindu fundamentalists. "So far he has come out in favour of the general principles of a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society. But he has not resolutely condemned the violence of extremist Hindus," Füllkrug-Weitzel stated.
Tolerance is traditionally one of Indias's strong points, she said, adding "I would wish that the country can again give the example for peaceful coexistence of very different religions, ethnic groups and cultures," At the same time, Fülldrug-Weitzel argued that India should be taken seriously as a country with huge potential and a major player on the international stage: "The times have passed when people could be patronising to India and pat it on the back."

Elvira Treffinger (epd)



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