- According to facts, in India every fourth person is poor.
- India has the largest single concentration of the poor in the world
Two Typical Cases of Poverty
- Poverty means hunger and lack of shelter, lack of clean water and sanitation facilities, lack of a regular job at a minimum decent level.
- Poverty is considered one of the biggest challenges of independent India. India would be truly independent only when the poorest of its people become free of human suffering.
- Ram Saran is a daily wage labourer in a flour mill near Ranchi in Jharkhand. He earns around Rs. 1500 per month when employed.
- He supports his family of 6 persons, besides sending some money to his elderly parents. His wife and son also work, but none of his 4 children can attend school.
- Lakha Singh is a landless labourer in a small village near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. By doing odd jobs for farmers, he earns Rs. 50 per day.
- Sometimes, he gets some food grain or other items instead of cash.
Rural Poverty is higher than Urban
Poverty as seen by Social scientists
- Social scientists look at poverty through a variety of indicators. Usually, the indicators are used to relate to the levels of income and consumption.
- But now poverty is looked at through other social Indicators like illiteracy level, lack of general resistance due to malnutrition, lack to access to healthcare etc.
- For analysis of poverty, social exclusion is very useful.
- As per this concept, poverty must be seen in terms of the poor living only in a poor surrounding with other poor people.
- Vulnerability describes the greater probability of being more adversely affected than other people, which is done due to an earthquake or simply a fall in the availability of jobs.
- Measurement of vulnerability to poverty describes the greater probability of certain communities i.e., members of a backward caste or individuals i.e. a widow or a physically handicapped person.
- The poverty line is a way that is used to identify the poor. It is a method used to measure poverty.
- In this method, poverty is measured with the help of the consumption and income level of the people.
- If the level of income and consumption falls below the minimum level of income and consumption of this line, then the person is considered to be poor.
- As per Economic Survey 2011–12, Ministry of Finance, Government of India- The poverty ratio in the year 1973 is 55 per cent and 30 per cent in 2009-10 which shows a decline in the poverty ratios.
- Poverty ratios further came down to about 26 per cent in 2000 and 36 per cent in 1994.
- Therefore, the poverty ratio is continuously decreased from 1974 to 2000.
- In India, the proportion of people below the poverty line is also not the same for all social groups and economic categories.
- Scheduled caste and scheduled tribe households are vulnerable to poverty in social groups.
- In the same direction, rural agricultural labour households and urban casual labour households are vulnerable to poverty in economic categories.
Story of Sivaraman
- The story portrays the sufferings of Sivaraman who works as an agricultural labourer, that too for just 5-6 months in a year.
- The sufferings and inequality within the family for women and children are even more.
- The proportion of poor people is not the same in every state. In 20 states and union territories, the poverty ratio is less than the national average.
- Orissa and Bihar are the poorest states of India with poverty ratios of 47 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively.
- The lowest incidence of poverty is found in Jammu and Kashmir with a poverty ratio of just 3.5 per cent.
Try yourself:Which two states of India continue to be the poorest states?
Orissa, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are the three poorest states in India with their people living below the poverty line being 47, 42 and 37 per cent respectively. Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are the three better-off states in India as far as poverty is concerned.
So, Option A is correct
Global Poverty Scenario
- There has been a substantial decline in global poverty. However, it is marked with great regional differences.
- Poverty has declined more in China and South-East Asian countries.
Causes of Poverty
- The rapid growth of the population, particularly among the poor, is considered a major cause of Indian poverty.
- Our agricultural sector has failed to generate much employment opportunities for farm labourers. Similarly, our industries could not provide many jobs for job seekers.
- One of the major causes of poverty is the unequal distribution of land and other resources. Various land reform measures introduced after Independence could not improve the lives of millions of rural poor because of their poor implementation.
- Social factors: People in India, including the very poor, spend a lot of money on social occasions like marriages, festivals, etc. Poor people hardly have any savings; they are, thus forced to borrow. Unable to pay because of poverty, they became victims of indebtedness.
- The joint family system has prevented people from doing hard work.
Anti Poverty Measures
- Our government’s strategy of poverty reduction has been twofold.
(i) Promotion of economic growth.
(ii) Targeted poverty alleviation programmes.
Promotion of Economic Growth:
- According to the official poverty estimation, the growth rate jumped from an average of about 3.5 per cent a year in the 1970s to about 6 per cent during the 1980s and 1990s. With the help of a high rate of growth, reduction of poverty is possible.
- It shows a link between poverty reduction and economic growth. Therefore, the promotion of economic growth helps to reduce poverty.
Poverty Alleviation Programmes: To address the poor, a need for targeted anti-poverty programmes was strongly felt.
Some of them are given below :
- Prime Minister Rojgar Yojana (PMRY): The aim of this programme (which was started in 1993) was to create self-employment opportunities for educated unemployed youth in rural areas and small towns.
- Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP): REGP was launched in 1995 to create self-employment opportunities in rural areas.
- Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY): SGSY was started in 1999. The programme aims at bringing the assisted poor families above the poverty line.
- Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY) was launched in 2000.
- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) for ‘the poorest of poors’ and elders.
- National Food for Work Programme (NFWP) was launched in 2004.
- National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was passed in September 2005. The Act provides 100-days assured employment every year to every rural household in 200 districts.
Try yourself:Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana was started in:
Prime Minister's Rozgar Yojana was launched on 2nd October 1993 to assist educated unemployed youth to set up self-employment ventures.
So, Option D is correct.
The Challenges Ahead
- Though poverty has declined in India, poverty reduction remains India’s most compelling challenge.
- We will have to do something special to fight against wide regional disparities.
- We must broaden the definition of poverty from ‘a minimum subsistence level of living to a reasonable level of living’.
- Bigger challenges before us are providing health care, education and job security for all the achieving gender equality.