Poverty is not just lack of money; it is not having capabilities to realize one’s full potential as human being. Comment with respect to contemporary poverty alleviation and measurement strategy of the Indian government. (250 Words/15 Marks)

This is going to be a lengthy answer. So try to use diagrams to explain in better way.

Start with little intro on the status of poverty in India.

Then jump to the first part of the answer which is the statement: Poverty is not just lack of money, it is not having capabilities to realize one’s full potential as human being. Discuss how lack of capabilities and choice forces people into poverty and why it is still persistent in India. It will be based on social dynamics of India and lack of access to healthcare, education and justice.

In the second part of the answer discuss the second part of the question: contemporary poverty alleviation and measurement strategy of the Indian government. Mention how governments have introduced various schemes for poverty alleviation and how it has changed the strategy to measure the poverty levels in India.

Model Answer:

  • Poverty is defined as a condition where people’s basic need for , clothing, and shelter are not being met.
  • While Generally poverty is associated with lack of money For instance, poverty is measured on the basis as those who live on $1.25 per day or less.,However according to some economists like Amartya sen poverty symbolizes much larger deprivation than just lack of income. A better approach is to see poverty  deprivation of a person’s capabilities to live the life they have reason to value.  the capability approach look at the range of options available for the individual to choose from and the freedom to exercise that choice
  • For example Suppose there is an Dalit individual who has income above poverty line,but due to caste discrimination prevalent in village, he is not allowed to take water from village well or buy Agriculture Land in village thus a person is poor according to capability approach because he does not have capability to realize one’s full potential as human being, due to the prevalent caste discrimination .Thus according to capability approach A is in poverty despite having a decent income. However income approach neglects these scenarios. According to capability approach An uneducated man is poor not because he has low income, but because he has lack of capability to find a white collar job because of his lack of education i.e to realize one,s full potential.
  • In India measurement of poverty generally relies on income approach, Ignoring capability approach For example dandekar, Planning commission and Lakdawala Approach of measuring poverty depended on suitable income required to consume Adequate amount of calories. Even later measurement techniques undertaken by Tendulkar and Rangarajan only partially drifted away from income approach by including some non- income  aspects like expenditure on health, education and Protein and fat consumption(included under Rangarajan method) in measuring poverty, However overall even in these approaches lack of income was basic criteria for identifying poverty.

Contemporary Poverty alleviation strategy of The Indian government has realized the need of going beyond just increasing income of the people below poverty line, instead the focus of the govt has shifted to increasing capability of the poor people through expanding opputurnaties of education, healthcare and skill development and also ending caste based and gender based deprivation. Thus in recent  years  schemes like NRHM,Sarva siksha Abhiyaan, Skill India mission,Beti bachao beti padhao and also a stricter Laws against SC/ST discrimination all point out that that government wants to increase the capability of the poor people so that they could live a  life meaningful to them in long run.


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