There should be seismic changes in the way Indian government think about absolute poverty and its alleviation. In this context discuss shortcomings of present poverty alleviation measures. Also suggest what changes should be made to achieve zero poverty.(250 words)

Mentor’s Comment

  • Define absolute and relative poverty.
  • Give Problems and challenges that current poverty alleviation programmes are facing.
  • List down measures that are required to deal with poverty in the face of new challenges.

Efforts at poverty alleviation have borne fruit in that for the first time since independence, the percentage of absolute poor in some states is now well below the national average. Despite various strategies to alleviate poverty, hunger, undernourishment, illiteracy and lack of basic amenities continue to be a common feature in many parts of India. Though the policy towards poverty alleviation has evolved in a progressive manner, over the last five and a half decades, it has not undergone any radical transformation. You can find change in nomenclature, integration or mutations of programmes.

Absolute and relative Poverty:
1. Absolute poverty: Also known as extreme poverty or abject poverty, it involves the scarcity of basic food, clean water, health, shelter, education and information. Those who belong to absolute poverty tend to struggle to live and experience a lot of child deaths from preventable diseases like malaria, cholera and water-contamination related diseases. Absolute Poverty is usually uncommon in developed countries.
It was first introduced in 1990, the “dollar a day” poverty line measured absolute poverty by the standards of the world’s poorest countries. In October 2015, the World Bank reset it to $1.90 a day. This number is controversial; therefore each nation has its own threshold for absolute poverty line.

2. Relative Poverty: It is defined from the social perspective that is living standard compared to the economic standards of population living in surroundings. Hence it is a measure of income inequality. For example, a family can be considered poor if it cannot afford vacations, or cannot buy presents for children at Christmas, or cannot send its young to the university.
Usually, relative poverty is measured as the percentage of the population with income less than some fixed proportion of median income. It is a widely used measure to ascertain poverty rates in wealthy developed nations. In European Union the “relative poverty measure is the most prominent and most–quoted of the EU social inclusion indicators”

There were various programs run by multiple governments to tackle poverty in India like:
– Mahatma Gandhi Rural Guarantee Employment Act (MGNREGA)
– National Rural Livelihood Mission
– Indira Awaas Yojana
– Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana
– National Urban Livelihoods Mission
– National Food Security Mission
– Right To Education
– Integrated Child Development Services

Failure of various programs:
However, none resulted in any radical change in the ownership of assets, process of production and improvement of basic amenities to the needy.
Scholars, while assessing these programmes, state three major areas of concern which prevent their successful implementation.
Due to unequal distribution of land and other assets, the benefits from direct poverty alleviation programmes have been appropriated by the non-poor.
Compared to the magnitude of poverty, the amount of resources allocated for these programmes is not sufficient. Moreover, these programmes depend mainly on government and bank officials for their implementation.
Since such officials are ill motivated, inadequately trained, corruption prone and vulnerable to pressure
from a variety of local elites, the resources are inefficiently used and wasted. There is also non-participation of local level institutions in programme implementation.
Government policies have also failed to address the vast majority of vulnerable people who are living on or just above the poverty line.
It also reveals that high growth alone is not sufficient to reduce poverty. Without the active participation of the poor, successful implementation of any programme is not possible.

What Needs To Be Done:
• Accelerating rural poverty reduction:
o It’s not just about agricultural growth, which has long been considered the key driver of poverty reduction. In fact, rural India is not predominantly agricultural and shares many of the economic conditions of smaller urban areas.
o Capitalizing on growing connectivity between rural and urban areas, and between the agriculture, industry and services sectors, has been effective in the past two decades and holds promise for the future.
Creating more and better jobs:
o The road out of poverty in India has been built on the performance of the labor market, but also benefited from rising transfers and remittances, and favorable demographics among other factors.
o Future efforts will need to address job creation in more productive sectors, which has until now been lukewarm and has yielded few salaried jobs that offer stability and security.
• Focusing on women and Scheduled Tribes:-
o The most worrying trends are the low participation of women in the labor market and the slow progress among scheduled tribes.
o India’s women have been withdrawing from the labor force since 2005 and less than one-third of working age women are now in the labor force. As a result, India today ranks last among BRICS countries, and close to the bottom in South Asia in female labor force participation.
o Scheduled Tribes started with the highest poverty rates of all of India’s social groups, and have progressed more slowly than the rest.
o Women and Scheduled Tribes are at risk of being locked out of India’s growth and prosperity.
• Creating more good locations:-
o Where people live largely shapes their prospects in life. India’s states continue to see large and growing differences in poverty levels and basic opportunities.
o More and more of India’s poor are concentrated in the poorest states, and even within relatively prosperous states, certain pockets of deprivation persist where people are unable to share in the state’s successes.
• Improving human development outcomes for the poor:
o This is central to improving their quality of life and income earning opportunities.
o The recent pastshows that some problems, such as undernutrition and open defecation, are endemic and not only confined to the poor but others too, and have not improved with economic growth.
o Better health, sanitation and education will not only help raise the productivity of millions, they will also empower the people to meet their aspirations, and provide the country with new drivers of economic growth

Poverty can effectively be eradicated only when the poor start contributing to growth by their active involvement in the growth process. This is possible through a process of social mobilisation, encouraging poor people to participate and get them empowered. This will also help create employment opportunities which may lead to increase in levels of income, skill development, health and literacy. Moreover, it is necessary to identify poverty stricken areas and provide infrastructure such as schools, roads, power, telecom, IT services, training institutions etc.

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kislay sisodia
kislay sisodia
3 years ago

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3 years ago

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