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February 13, 2017

Essay - Poverty in India : Steps to Eradicate it

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Poverty in India - Steps to Eradicate it

Overview
  • What does poverty mean ? 
  • India has the largest number of poor.
  • Main causes of poverty in India. 
  • Adverse consequences of poverty.
  • Various povery alleviation programmes.
  • Further steps to eradicate poverty in India.
Poverty is one of the main issues, attracting the attention of sociologists and economists.

It indicates a condition in which a person fails to maintain a living standard adequate for a comfortable lifestyle. Though India boasts of a high economic growth, it is shameful that there is still large scale poverty in India. Poverty in India can be defined as a situation when a certain section of people are unable to fulfill their basic needs.

India has the world's largest number of poor people living in a single country. Out of its total population of more than 1 billion, 350 to 400 million people are living below the poverty line. According to world bank estimate, 21.3% of India's population falls below the International poverty line of US $ 1.90 a day.


Many committees were established in India to estimate poverty in the country. These includes National Planning Committee (1938), YK Alagh Committee (1979), Lakdawala Committee (2011) and Suresh Tendulkar Committee (2005). The current estimations of poverty are based upon the recommendation of Suresh Tendulkar Committee. This committee recommended to shift away from the calorie based model and made the poverty line somewhat broad based by considering monthly spending on education, health, electricity and transport also.

There are large number of causes of poverty in India which are as follows
  • Fast growing population has reduced the per capita income of India. Hence, the standard of living has also fallen considerably. If the country is overpopulated a large part of the income is spent on consumption and very little is saved for development activities. 
  • Unemployment is one of the important reason for poverty in India, Many people do not have job to sustain themselves and their families. 
  • 60% of population depends on agriculture in India. But the condition of agriculture sector is bad. Farmers are poor and uneducated. They have no good facilities of irrigation. They do not get seeds and fertilizers in time, all this leads to poor yield. 
  • The widening gap between the rich and the poor is also responsible for poverty in India. The rich are growing richer, the poor are growing poorer. 
  • Inflation also leads to poverty because income earned by poor people is not sufficient to buy basic necessities of life. A rise in price of a commodity forces them to remain in poverty. 
Poverty also has adverse consequences on the country to a large extent. It is the leading cause of insufficient diet and inadequate nutrition. The resources of poor people are very limited and its effect can be seen in their diet. Poverty is often characterised with income disparity and unequal distribution of national wealth between the rich and the poor. 
Apart from this women are the worst victims of poverty as it effects greater number of women then men. The total of poor women out numbers the total population of poor men. They are deprived of proper-diet, medicines and health treatment. Poverty is one of the strong reasons for increasing child labour in India. Due to low income of parents, their children are forced to indulge in various jobs which leads to child labour. 

In order to combat the issue of poverty, the Government of India has launched various poverty alleviation programmes. Some of them worth mentioning are
  • Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, 1999, to provide sustainable income to the poorest people living in rural and urban areas of the country. 
  • Employment Assurance Scheme, 1993, to create additional wage employment opportunities during the period of acute shortage of wage employment through manual work for the rural poor living below the poverty line. 
  • Food for Work Programme, 2004, to generate supplementary wage employment. 
  • Integrated Watershed Management Programme to restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources.
  • Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana, to provide employment to the educated youth who are not having a job.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005, to enhance livelihood security by providing at least 100 days of guranteed ways employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
Apart from these government initiatives, several steps can be taken to stop or eradicate poverty in India.

To control the increasing poverty,' the rate of growth of production of food grains as a whole has barely kept ahead of population growth. An increase in per capita food production would ensure steady supply and stable price. Poverty can be eliminated if the poor people are given the jobs according to their needs and talents. Self employment can also be provided to them. Much of the problem of poverty can be solved if the population of the country can be reduced to an average level.

Resources of the country should be utilised properly so that we can have the benefits of those free gifts of nature.

Government should take steps to spread awareness for education so that the people do not have to depend on others for their income. Agriculture is the backbone of our country. It provides income to vast number of people. Hence, there must be upliftinent of agriculture. Inflation tends to make poor poorer and rich richer. There should be a stability in the price level of the country. Government should develop cottage, handicrafts and other small scale industries in the backward regions of the country moreover this will transfer resources from the areas of surplus to the deficit areas solving the problem of urbanisation.

Therefore, one has to keep a thing in the mind that poverty is a menace and need to be checked. The above steps would be helpful to stop poverty in India. It is a national problem and hence must be solved on a war footing. Eradication of poverty would ensure a sustainable and inclusive growth of economy and society.

Even though India is about to achieve its millennium development goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger to halve between 1990 and 2015, steps needed to be taken to achieve the goal as soon as possible. We all should do everything possible and within our limits to help alleviate poverty from our country.

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Yield produce
  • Inflation a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money
  • Adverse unfavourable
  • Disparity a great difference
  • Deprived prevent (a person) from having or using something
  • Alleviate make suffering less severe or reduce or decrease
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