Persistent and unchecked poverty is one of the ironies of the technologically progressing world. Why does poverty still exist? What are the types of poverty existing in the world? How is poverty estimated in India? What are the measures to tackle it? Read on to know more.
Poverty is a complex phenomenon in which an individual or group lacks the means of subsistence and other basic necessities.
The World Bank defines poverty as a severe lack of well-being that has several dimensions.
Low salaries and the inability to obtain the fundamental goods and services required for humane survival are examples of this. Low levels of health and education, poor access to sanitary facilities, insufficient physical security, lack of voice, and lack of resources are all included in the definition of poverty.
Types of Poverty
Poverty can be categorised in the following ways based on social, economic, and political factors:
1. Absolute poverty
It describes a state in which a person consistently falls short of earning enough money to cover at least one or more essential expenses for a long time. It can be calculated in terms of money, calories, or nutritional attainment.
For example, Families that are unable to feed their children and themselves, as well as homeless persons living on the streets, are examples of absolute poverty.
2. Relative poverty
It happens when people do not have the minimal level of living standards that are set by the government and are enjoyed by the majority of the population and vary from country to country. It is thought to be on the rise and may never completely disappear.
For example, A person living in a wealthy culture may have a regular income and all of the essentials of life, but because they do not have as many luxuries as other members of the community, relative poverty is defined in the UK as income that is 50% below average salaries.
3. Situational Poverty
It is a form of temporary poverty predicated by the occurrence of a negative event like an environmental catastrophe, a job loss, or a serious health issue.
People are capable of helping themselves even with modest assistance because poverty is the result of unfavourable circumstances.
4. Generational Poverty
It is passed down from one generation to the next to individuals and families.
This is more challenging because there is no way out because everyone is caught up in the root of the problem and lacks access to the necessary resources.
5. Rural Poverty
This happens in rural locations where there are fewer job prospects, services to access, support for people with impairments, and opportunities for a good education.
Most of the locals depend on farming and other clerical labour that is available in the area to make a living.
6. Urban Poverty
The main difficulties urban residents confront as a result of poverty include:
Having trouble accessing health care and education
Poor housing and services
Due to congestion, the environment is violent and unpleasant a weak or nonexistent social safety net.
Also read: Urban Poverty
Pre-Independence Poverty Estimation
The oldest calculation of the poverty line was done by Dadabhai Naoroji in his book “Poverty and unBritish Rule in India.”
This estimate was made based on the price of subsistence or minimally adequate food.
National Planning Committee (1938)
This committee, which was established under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, proposed a poverty line based on a minimal quality of living, ranging from $15 to $20 per person per month.
The Bombay Plan (1944)
Supporters of the Bombay Plan1 proposed a poverty limit of $75 per person per year, which was far lower than the National Planning Committee’s estimate.
Post-Independence Poverty Estimation
Planning Commission (1962)
The Planning Commission formed the Planning Commission Expert Group in 1962, and it was this group that developed the distinct poverty lines for rural and urban areas Rs.20 and Rs.25 per capita per year respectively.
Y. K. Alagh Committee (1979)
The accurate measurement of poverty based on starvation was decided.
A committee made a suggestion based on the fact that impoverished people are those who consume less than 2,100 calories in urban regions and less than 2,400 calories in rural areas, respectively.
Lakdawala Committee (1993)
The following recommendations were made by an expert group, led by D.T. Lakdawala, which was formed to assess the technique for estimating poverty:
As in the past, calorie consumption should serve as the basis for calculating consumption expenditure;
Poverty lines should be created for each state and updated using the Consumer Price Index of Agricultural Labor (CPI-AL) in rural regions and the Consumer Price Index of Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) in urban areas;
The stoppage of “scaling” poverty statistics based on National Accounts Statistics
Suresh Tendulkar Committee (2005)
The recommendations made by this committee serve as the foundation for the current poverty estimates.
This committee suggested abandoning the calorie-based approach and broadening the definition of poverty by taking into account monthly expenditures on power, transportation, health care, and education.
It advocated for nutrient intake as opposed to calorie intake. A line based on the cost of living was also drawn by the committee. In rural and urban areas, the Tendulkar panel set a baseline daily per capita spending of Rs. 27 and Rs. 33, respectively.
C. Rangarajan Committee (2012-14)
The committee increased the cost of living per day for rural and urban areas, respectively, to Rs. 32 and Rs. 47. As a result, India’s poverty rate was close to 30% and its total population was near to 40 crores.
Arvind Panagariya Task Force (2015)
A committee to identify people “Below Poverty Line (BPL)” was suggested by the task group. The study discusses four methods for tracking the impoverished, starting with maintaining the Tendulkar poverty line.
Next, move to the Rangarajan or other higher rural and urban poverty levels.
Third, follow-up data on the bottom 30% of the population over time
Fourth, keeping track of the bottom 30%’s performance on particular metrics like housing, sanitization, electricity, dietary intake, etc.
NITI Aayog Task Force
NITI Aayog has emphasised that the poverty level will only be used to assess progress in addressing poverty rather than identifying the poor for entitlements in order to allay concerns that many poor people would be left behind if the Tendulkar Committee’s poverty line is adopted.
Multidimensional Poverty Index by Niti Ayog
A Multidimensional Poverty Index Coordination Committee (MPICC) has been established by NITI Aayog with representatives from pertinent Line Ministries and Departments.
The competition between states is intended to compel states to adopt drastic measures to reduce poverty.
The UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index is also anticipated to be influenced by the findings (MPI).
Why does poverty still exist?
The heavy pressure on the population
India has 84.63 billion people in 1991 and 102.87 billion in 2001.
The excessive subdivision and holdings fragmentation that results from rapid population increase. As a result, there is significantly less land available per person, and households lack access to enough land to meet their needs for productivity and revenue.
Since 1951, India’s population has been expanding quickly, which has resulted in a slower increase in per capita income and decreased living standards for the populace.
Unemployment and underemployment
In India, there is persistent unemployment and underemployment as a result of the country’s ongoing population growth.
Poverty is merely a reflection of this element, and there is educated unemployment as well as concealed unemployment.
Lack of Inclusive Economic Growth
The lack of adequate economic growth in India is the primary factor contributing to the country’s widespread poverty.
Since India gained independence, the national income and savings rate has increased, but poverty has not decreased as much as it could have because industrial expansion has not produced enough job possibilities.
Growth strategies benefited the wealthy more than they did the poor.
Failure to enact land reforms
Fair access to land is a crucial component of the fight against poverty.
The majority of rural poor people work as agricultural labourers (who typically lack land) and are independent small farmers with less than 2 acres of land.
Additionally, they are unable to find work all year long. As a result, they work too little and are unemployed for a lot of days each year.
Inflation and Food Prices
The cost of the minimal consumer expenditure necessary to meet basic necessities increases due to inflation, notably given the increase in food costs. As a result, many households are forced below the poverty line by inflation.
Shortage of Capital and Able Entrepreneurship
The ability to start your own business and have money both play a big part in driving growth. However, compared to other developing countries, these are scarce, making a large rise in output difficult.
The social structure is still outdated and does not encourage rapid development.
Inheritance laws, the caste system, traditions, and conventions are impeding rapid progress and making the poverty issue worse.
India’s hot climate makes it harder for individuals, particularly rural residents, to work, which has a negative impact on productivity.
Frequent floods, famines, earthquakes, and cyclone harm agriculture severely; as a result, food prices rise and access becomes increasingly difficult, increasing the risk of poverty for many.
Moreover, the agricultural production of the nation is adversely impacted by the lack of timely rain, heavy rain, or insufficient rain.
The process of granting concessions and eradicating poverty is disrupted by ethnic issues and conflict between two regional parties.
The main reason for concern about India’s poverty is that various development programmes are being driven by political interests. As a result, efforts to address the issues of unemployment and poverty have been ineffective.
Actions to address issues of Poverty
More Citizen participation
Any programme cannot be implemented successfully without the poor’s engaged participation.
Only until the impoverished begin actively participating in the growth process and contributing to growth can poverty be truly erased.
This is made feasible by a social mobilisation approach that empowers the underprivileged by promoting their participation.
Accelerating Economic Growth
While attempts should be made to hasten economic growth, it is best to avoid importing capital-intensive technologies from Western nations.
Instead, we should pursue a path of economic growth that requires lots of labour.
Adopting monetary and fiscal measures that encourage the use of labour-intensive methods is necessary.
Growth of Non-Farm Employment
The growth of non-farm employment in rural areas is particularly important for reducing poverty.
It is possible to generate non-farm jobs in marketing, transportation, handicrafts, dairying, forestry, food processing, other agricultural product processing, repair businesses, etc.
Providing access to more assets to vulnerable sections
Reduce rural poverty through redistributing land through practical means, such as the implementation of tenancy reforms to provide security of tenure and the determination of reasonable rent.
Institutional Credit Access
The conditions enabling small farmers to acquire access to productive resources, such as HYV seeds fertilisers, and installation of minor irrigation, such as wells and tube wells, can be created through the availability of loans to the poor on easy terms.
Small farmers will be able to employ high-yielding technologies as a result, increasing their productivity.
Poverty Alleviation Schemes
National Urban Livelihoods Mission: Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana (DAY-NULM)
- Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry
- Provide skill development and loans for self-employment to urban disadvantaged people Government interest subsidies are made through the PAISA Portal.
- Create markets for vendors in cities.
- shelters for the homeless
National Rural Livelihoods Mission: Deen Dayal Antidaya Yojana (DAY-NRLM)
- Rural Development Ministry
- Bring at least one woman from each low-income household, and provide them with training and funding for businesses making candles, soap, crafts, etc.
- They’ll work for themselves or for a skilled wage, which will bring in more money than working as farm labourers.
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDUGKY-2014)
- Provides rural youth aged 15 to 35 with FREE skill training.
- At least 75% of trained candidates will be guaranteed a job.
- Cover Left-Wing Extremist (LWE) districts and youth in North Eastern States.
Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY-2017)
Interest-free loans are provided to SHGs and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to purchase public transportation vehicles so they can make money transporting passengers.
Disha Committee (2016)
- For effective and timely development, the Ministry of Rural Development has established the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DISHA), which is made up of elected representatives from the local governments (PRI, ULB, State Assembly, and Parliament).
- They will check on the progress of the plans at a quarterly meeting.
- The senior-most Lok Sabha member from the designated district will serve as head of the DISHA Committee. To carry out the Committee’s instructions, DM/Collector(IAS) will serve as the member secretary.
Mission Antyodaya (2017)
- Ministry of Rural Development
- Here, the government will use the assistance of the Gram Panchayat, NGOs, SHGs, ASHA workers, etc. to more vigilantly and accountable implement the other ongoing programmes.
- By 2020, at least 50,000 Gram Panchayats will be free of poverty.
The major goal of all of our development programmes had been to encourage quick, balanced economic growth that was both equitable and socially just.
However, not all groups of individuals have benefited from our policies and actions. The constitution’s promise and our ancestors’ hopes for an equitable society have not been realised.
It’s time to consider unconventional approaches to ending poverty because while some regions and certain economic sectors have reached a level of social and economic growth that allows them to compete with industrialised nations, many others have been unable to escape the cycle of poverty.
Article Written By: Aryadevi