Poverty in India




Poverty in India


          India is a big country, the seventh largest on the globe. In order to keep pace with the rapidly changing world, there is a paramount need for comprehensive all round development. Today India stands as the fifth largest economy of the world. It is a pity that about 50% of Indian population is poor. According to economic survey 2000-2001 about 51.11% of rural population and 45.21% of urban population is poor.
          Poverty is a social phenomenon in which a section of society is unable to fulfil even its basic necessities of life. The countries of the third world are afflicted by mass poverty and India is one of them. The term poverty has been defined in different societies in a different way. However, the common definition of poverty goes with needs of minimum standard of good life. Some economic experts have defined poverty line in a nutritional norm of per capita daily intake of 2400 calories in rural areas and 2100 calories in urban areas. A person who fails to obtain this minimum level of calories is treated as being below the poverty line. Then a family unit of five, earning Rs. 12,000 per annum is also said to be living below poverty line. Current statistics released by Planning Commission indicate that the percentage of the people living below poverty line is highest in Orissa (47.15%) while in absolute figure it is M.P (529.89 Lakhs). On the basis of monthly per capita expenditure the basic nutri┬Čtion was computed at Rs. 115.4 for rural areas and Rs. 165.5 for urban areas.
          According to World Development Report (2001) per capita income in India is about 1/65 of U.S.A., level of per capita income (450 and 30600 US Dollars respectively). High degree of disparity in income / wealth distribution is found in India. We have not adhered to the principle of socialistic pattern of society. According to the data provided by NSS 39% of rural population possesses only 5% of all the rural assets while 8% top house-holds possess 46% of total assets. India has yet to achieve the goal of balanced economic development. According to latest World Development Report about 64% of total labor force is dependent on agriculture which is not profitable by any means. It is because India lacks in large industrialization based on modern technique. Over population has offset every gain in economic field. India is still a traditional society. Indians are forced to waste money on unproductive expenditure in religious and social fields. The net result is poverty of the people.
          Programmes such as Garibi Hatao or 20 point programme have not yielded the desired results because they were motivated by political considerations rather than pious desire for the well being of the masses. Integrated Rural Development programme started in 1978-79 have not achieved the desirable results. Training of Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM), National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), Minimum Needs Programme (MND), Rural housing programme, Employment Assurance Scheme are some of schemes launched by the govt to eradicate poverty. Similarly many schemes in the field of urban poverty have also been launched. Nehru Rozgar Yojna (NRY), Self Employment Programme for the Urban Poor (SEPUP) etc.




          In a nutshell, the problem of poverty is inseparable from growth of population, industrialization and reforms in rural economy. Genuine concern for the poor can help us achieve our goal of prosperity. Growth of employment opportunities along with control over population can alone strike at the root of poverty.