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Poverty

  • Poverty is a prevalent issue in daily life, visible in various forms such as landless laborers, overcrowded urban slums, daily wage workers, and child laborers.
  • Every fourth person in India is considered poor.

Key Concepts - Poverty as a Challenge | Social Studies (SST) Class 9

Poverty as seen by Social Scientists

  • Poverty is studied using various indicators, including income, consumption, illiteracy, malnutrition, healthcare access, job opportunities, and essential amenities.
  • Social scientists now analyze poverty through the lens of social exclusion, a process where individuals or groups are deprived of facilities, benefits, and opportunities, extending beyond income levels.

Key Concepts - Poverty as a Challenge | Social Studies (SST) Class 9

  • Vulnerability to poverty measures the increased likelihood of certain communities or individuals, like those from backward castes or widows, becoming or remaining poor. This includes assessing options for alternative living and increased risks during natural disasters, terrorism, or economic challenges.
  • The social and economic capacity of groups to handle risks associated with natural disasters, terrorism, or economic downturns is analyzed as part of vulnerability assessment.
  • Poverty, viewed through social exclusion, is not solely about low income but involves individuals being confined to impoverished surroundings, excluded from the social equality enjoyed in more prosperous environments.

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Vulnerability

  • Vulnerability describes the greater probability of being more adversely affected than other people, which is 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. 

Poverty Line

The poverty line is a way that is used to identify the poor. It is a method used to measure poverty. 

Poverty Line ExplanationPoverty Line Explanation

  • The poverty line is determined by factors such as food, clothing, footwear, education, medical needs, etc.
  • In India, it is calculated based on the calorie requirement, with variations in rural and urban areas.

Poverty Estimates

  • The key concepts emphasize a notable decline in poverty ratios in India, decreasing from about 45% in 1993-94 to 37.2% in 2004–05. 
  • The proportion of people below the poverty line further dropped to around 22% in 2011–12, with a potential future reduction to less than 20%. 
  • Despite a percentage decline in poverty from 1973–1993, the actual number of poor individuals significantly decreased from 407 million in 2004–05 to 270 million in 2011–12, reflecting an average annual decline of 2.2 percentage points during 2004–05 to 2011–12.

Inter-State Disparities

  • Poverty rates vary across Indian states, with Bihar and Odisha having high poverty ratios.
  • Regional strategies, land reforms, and public distribution influence poverty reduction.

Graph Depicting Inter-State Disparities Graph Depicting Inter-State Disparities 

  • Orissa and Bihar are the poorest states of India with poverty ratios of 47 percent and 43 percent, respectively.
  • The lowest incidence of poverty is found in Jammu and Kashmir with a poverty ratio of just 3.5 percent.

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Global Poverty Scenario

  • Global poverty rates: Decreased from 36% in 1990 to 10% in 2015.
  • Substantial differences in poverty reduction across regions.
  • China and Southeast Asian countries benefited from rapid economic growth and investments in human resource development.
  • Poverty in China dropped from 88.3% in 1981 to 0.6% in 2019.
  • Rapid decline in poverty from 34% in 2005 to 15.2% in 2014.
  • Significant reduction, e.g., from 510.4 million in 2005 to 274.5 million in 2013 in South Asia.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa saw a decrease from 51% in 2005 to 40.2% in 2018, while Latin America reduced from 10% in 2005 to 4% in 2018.
  • Some former socialist countries, like Russia, experienced the reappearance of poverty.
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals: Aim to eradicate all types of poverty globally by 2030.

Causes of Poverty

  • Historical factors under British rule, low economic development, and unequal distribution of resources.
  • Land scarcity, income inequalities, and challenges faced by small farmers contribute to poverty.

Key Concepts - Poverty as a Challenge | Social Studies (SST) Class 9

  • Our agricultural sector has failed to generate many employment opportunities for farm laborers. 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 for poverty reduction has been twofold.
    (i) Promotion of economic growth.
    (ii) Targeted poverty alleviation programs.

Anti-Poverty Measures

  • Two-fold strategy: promotion of economic growth and targeted anti-poverty programs.
  • Notable schemes include Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana, Rural Employment Generation Programme, Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, and Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana.

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.
The document Key Concepts - Poverty as a Challenge | Social Studies (SST) Class 9 is a part of the Class 9 Course Social Studies (SST) Class 9.
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FAQs on Key Concepts - Poverty as a Challenge - Social Studies (SST) Class 9

1. What is poverty?
Ans. Poverty refers to a state of being extremely poor, lacking the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, and clothing. It is a condition where individuals or communities are unable to meet their minimum needs for a decent standard of living.
2. How do social scientists view poverty?
Ans. Social scientists view poverty as a complex issue that goes beyond mere income levels. They analyze various factors such as access to education, healthcare, opportunities, social exclusion, and inequality to understand the causes and consequences of poverty.
3. What is the poverty line?
Ans. The poverty line is a threshold set by the government or international organizations to determine the minimum level of income required for a person or household to meet their basic needs. It serves as a benchmark to identify individuals or communities living below the poverty line.
4. What are inter-state disparities related to poverty?
Ans. Inter-state disparities refer to the differences in poverty levels and economic conditions between different states within a country. It highlights the uneven distribution of wealth and resources, leading to variations in living standards and opportunities among different regions.
5. What are anti-poverty measures?
Ans. Anti-poverty measures are policies and initiatives implemented by governments and organizations to reduce poverty and improve the living conditions of the poor. These measures can include providing social welfare programs, promoting inclusive economic growth, ensuring access to education and healthcare, and empowering marginalized communities.
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