Q.1. What do you mean by poverty?
Ans. Poverty is the inability to secure the minimum consumption requirements for life, health and efficiency.
Q.2. What proportion of the world’s poor live in India?
Ans. One-fifth of the world’s poor live in India.
Q.3. How many children under the age of five die annually in India according to UNICEF?
Ans. About 2.3 million children under the age of five die India per annum according to UNICEF.
Q.4. Name the two key features of poorest households.
Ans. The two key features of poorest households are hunger and starvation.
Q.5. What are the factors responsible alarming malnutrition among the poor?
Ans. Ill health, disability and serious illness are the factors responsible for alarmingly high malnutrition among the poor.
Q.6. Who are the poor?
Ans. We can see poor residing in our localities both in rural and urban areas. Some of the most vulnerable groups are urban casual labourers, rural agricultural labourers, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. These people possess very few assets and live in very miserable conditions. They live in kutcha houses made of baked mud and root grass. They neither have any land to cultivate nor can they afford even two meals a day. Hence, they are malnourished and physically weak. Moreover, they are deprived of decent economic opportunities, which could raise their standard of living and lifestyle. They are illiterate, jobless as well as voiceless and powerless. Better-off people often exploit them.
Q.7. What are the problems faced by the poor?
Ans. Following are the problems faced by the poor:
(i) They suffer from chronic indebtedness borrow from money lenders who charge high rates of interest, which leads them into poverty.
(ii) They are not able to negotiate with employers for legal wages and are exploited.
(iii) They do not have access to electricity and safe drinking water.
(iv) The primary cooking fuel is firewood and cow dung cake.
(v) There exists extreme gender inequality in the participation of employment, education and decision-making within the family.
(vi) Women in poor households receive less care on their way to motherhood and hence, their children are less likely to survive or be born healthy.
Q.8. What is relative poverty?
Ans. Relative poverty refers to lack of resources in relation to different classes, regions and countries.
Q.9. State the minimum calorie requirement (per day) of a person in rural area and a person in urban area.
Ans. The minimum calorie intake (per day) for a rural person is estimated at 2,400 calories while that for a person in urban area is 2,100 for a person.
Q.10. How is the extent of poverty worked out in India?
Ans. The extent of poverty in India is worked out with the help of “Head Count Ratio”.
Q.11. Define Head Count Ratio.
Ans. Head Count Ratio is the proportion of persons living below the poverty line.
Q.12. Name some factors, other than income and expenditure, which are associated with poverty.
Ans. Some factors, other than income and expenditure, which are associated with poverty, include accessibility to basic education, health care, drinking water and sanitation.
Q.13. Name the state in India which had the highest poverty in 2011–2012.
Ans. In 2011–2012, Chhattisgarh had the highest poverty in India.
Q.14. List the initiatives undertaken in post-independent India to work out a mechanism to identify the number of poor.
Ans. The initiatives undertaken in post-independent India to work out a mechanism to identify the number of poor are:
(i) A Study Group was formed by the Planning Commission in 1962.
(ii) Task Force on Projections of Minimum Needs and Effective Consumption Demand was formed in 1979.
(iii) ‘Expert Groups’ were also constituted for the same purpose in the years 1989 and 2005.
Q.15. Differentiate between absolute and relative poverty.
Ans. The table below shows the points of difference between absolute and relative poverty:
(i) It takes into account the minimum physical quantities of national requirement for a subsistence level.
(ii) Poverty is measured in monetary terms.
(iii) It shows only the number of poor in the country determined on the basis of defined poverty line.
(i) It takes into account relative levels of income of the population.
(ii) Poverty is measured with respect to various classes, regions and countries.
(iii) It shows the extent of inequality and proportion of people living below the poverty line.
Q.16. Why is the calorie requirements in rural areas are considered to be higher than urban areas?
Ans. The consumption levels in the rural and urban areas are quite different. The calorie intake differs depending upon the age group, eating habits, type of work, climate and consumption level. The accepted average calorie requirement in India is 2400 calories per person per day in rural areas and 2100 calories per person per day in urban areas. The calorie requirements in rural areas are considered to be higher than urban areas because people living in rural areas engage themselves in more physical work.
Q.17. Write a short note on the changes in the trends of poverty ratio and the number of poor during 1973–2012.
Ans. During 1973–74 and 2011–12, the poverty ratio has declined continuously for both urban and rural areas. There has also been a decline in the absolute number of poor. However, the ratio is declining much slower than the absolute number of poor in the country. While the gap between the absolute number of poor in rural and urban areas got reduced, the gap between rural and urban poverty ratio has remained the same until 1999–2000. The gap between ratios has in fact widened in 2004–10.
Q.18. Give a brief description of inter-state disparity in terms of poverty in India.
Ans. The proportion of poor people is not the same in every state. The state level poverty has witnessed a significant decline compared to the levels of early seventies. However, the rate of success of reducing poverty varies from state to state. According to recent estimates, 20 states and union territories have poverty ratio less than the national average. On the other hand, poverty is still a serious issue in Odisha, Bihar, Assam, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.
Q.19. What impact did the British rule had on the Indian economy?
Ans. The British rule had a substantial negative impact on the Indian economy and standard of living of the people.
(i) There was a sharp increase rural tax, which made merchants and moneylenders exploit the borrowers.
(ii) India began to export food grains under the British, which lead to death of 26 million people in famines between 1875 and 1900.
(iii) The British rule impoverished millions of people in India.
Q.20. What makes farmers commit suicide?
Ans. Landless farmers are poor and they do not have sufficient money to buy modern equipment for producing crops. In order to adopt developed techniques of production in agriculture, they take loans from moneylenders, who charge them very high rate of interest. However, if the crop fails due to drought or other natural calamities, it causes distress among the farmers. They commit suicide due to their inability to repay the loans that they have taken for cultivation.
Q.21. Discuss the objective of growth-oriented approach of poverty alleviation.
Ans. Growth-oriented approach is based on the idea that the effects of economic growth, i.e. rapid increase in national income and per capita income would automatically spread to all sections of society which will improve the condition of poor sections of the country. Major focus on ‘trickle down’ process was laid down in the 1950s and early 1960s by the planning process. It was believed that rapid industrial development and agricultural transformation through ‘green revolution’ in selected regions of the country would benefit the underdeveloped regions of the country and more backward sections of the society as well.
Q.22. Write a short note on MNREGA.
Ans. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) is an important step towards the realisation of the right to work. Under MNREGA, all those who are able to, and are in need of work at minimum wages, are guaranteed 100 days of employment in a year by the government. If the government fails in its duty to provide employment, it will give unemployment allowances to the people. Moreover, the programme is expected to enhance people’s livelihoods on a sustained basis, by developing the economic and social infrastructure in rural areas. In 2012–13, 4.4 crore households have been provided employment under MNREGA.
Q.23. Which approach has been adopted to improve the standard of living of the poor?
Ans. The government adopted an approach to address poverty by providing minimum basic amenities to the people. The objective was to improve the people’s standard of living through public expenditure on social consumption needs such as provision of food grains at subsidised rates, education, health, water supply and sanitation. This approach also included programmes which are expected to create employment opportunities and bring about improvements in health and education.
Q.24. “Without the active participation of the poor, successful implementation of any programme is not possible.” Elaborate.
Ans. The poor can contribute significantly towards eradication of poverty and hence, growth by their active involvement in the growth process. This is possible through a process of social mobilisation of poor people, encouraging them to participate and get them empowered. These steps will also help create employment opportunities thereby increasing the levels of income, development of skill, health and literacy.
Q.25. Name the three major programmes that aim at improving the food and nutritional status of the poor.
Ans. Three major programmes that aim at improving the food and nutritional status of the poor are:
(i) Public Distribution System
(ii) Integrated Child Development Scheme
(iii) Mid-day Meal