Despite years of poverty alleviation programmes, Indian economy is plagued by multidimensional poverty and inequalities. Discuss with suggestions. (250 Words)

Mentors Comments:
1. Mention key statistics on the state of poverty in India
2. Discuss how various programs failed, leading to continuing poverty and deprivation
3. Suggest solutions for poverty and inequality alleviation.

India continues to have a large population, which is certainly, not able to afford basic things, in spite of multidimensional poverty almost halved between 2005-06 and 2015-16, climbing down to 27.5%. According to the last released official data, in 2011, 268 million people were surviving on less than $1.90 a day.

Following are the reasons for the continuance of poverty despite being the main agenda of successive govts and number of poverty alleviation programs:
Out-of-Pocket expenditure on ‘Utilities’ like on electricity, transport, health, etc.
High Income and Wealth Inequality: According to latest Oxfam Study, India’s top 1 percent holds 51.53 percent of the national wealth whereas the bottom 60 percent, the majority of the population, own merely 4.8 percent of the national wealth, indicating a huge difference in the income level of people.
Urban Poverty:
1. When people in rural areas don’t find their work any more gainful, they leave their villages in the hope of getting some work in urban areas. But once they reach the big cities, they find it difficult to meet their ends,
leading to the situation of poverty.
2. Even the well-developed cities are not immune to poverty. Slums in cities like Mumbai is an example.
Low Productivity in Agriculture: A major reason for poverty in the low productivity in the agriculture sector. The reason for low productivity is manifold. Chiefly, it is because of fragmented and subdivided landholdings, lack of capital, illiteracy about new technologies in farming, the use of traditional methods of cultivation, wastage during storage, etc.
Underutilized Resources: There is underemployment and disguised unemployment in the country, particularly in the farming sector. This has resulted in low agricultural output and also led to a dip in the standard of living.
Low Rate of Economic Development: Economic development has been low in India. There is a gap between the requirement and the availability of goods and services.
Price Rise: Price rise has been steady in the country and this has added to the burden the poor carry. Although a few people have benefited from this, the lower-income groups have suffered because of it, and are not even able to satisfy their basic minimum wants.
Unemployment: Unemployment is another factor causing poverty in India. The ever- increasing population has led to a higher number of job-seekers. However, there is not enough expansion in opportunities to match this demand for employment.
Shortage of Capital and Able Entrepreneurship: The shortage of capital and entrepreneurship is making it harder to increase production.
Social Factors: Apart from economic and commercial, there are also social factors hindering the eradication of poverty in India. Some of the hindrances in this regard are the laws of inheritance, caste system, certain traditions, etc.

What needs to be done?
Redefine Poverty: Poverty lines have to be recalibrated depending on changes in income, consumption patterns and prices. India needs to use the poverty line for middle-income countries which is around Rs 75/per day, 68% higher than the Tendulkar committee.
Focus to be shifted on public goods rather than subsidies: The drive to eradicate poverty should now move on from ending hunger to making people able to take advantage of opportunities of growth by providing education, health, infrastructure, and housing.
Redistribution of growth dividend: Economic growth should be made more inclusive so that it leads to the alleviation of inequality.
Investment in Agriculture by the government is necessary to decrease rural poverty. Subsidies address only short-term issues. Also, there is a need to develop technologies, with the help of which farmers can practice all-weather agriculture.
 Like Costa Rica, there is a need for multi-stakeholder commission with both government and the private sector to incorporate the MPI as an official measure for allocating resources and evaluating social programs. 

India will have to sustain efforts in reducing deprivations across multiple dimensions to eliminate poverty. The MPI affords India the opportunity to track poverty and deprivations in a more nuanced manner and continue the battle to improve the lives of millions of its citizens.

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