Made by:Nisarg PatelParthasarathi KhirwadkarSwetang FinviyaAarsh AgrawalSamarth ParikhMihir MadhaniRushan Mukherjee
Poverty in India is widespread, with the nation estimated to have a thirdof the worlds poor. In 2011, World Bank stated, 32.7% (39,56,70,000)of thetotal Indian people fall below the international poverty line of US$ 1.25per day (PPP) while 68.7% live on less than US$ 2 per day while theestimated in 2004 was to be 24 %. According to a new poverty Development Goals Report, as many as 320million people in India and China are expected to come out of extremepoverty in the next four years, while Indias poverty rate is projected todrop to 22% in 2015.The report also indicates that in SouthernAsia, however, only India, where the poverty rate is projected to fall from51% in 1990 to about 22% in 2015, is on track to cut poverty in half by the2015 target date. The latest UNICEF data shows that one in three malnourished childrenworldwide are found In India, whilst 42 percent of the nations childrenunder five years of age are underweight. It also shows that a total of 58percent of children under five surveyed were stunted. RohiniMukherjee, of the Naadi foundation-one of the NGOs that published thereport-stated India is "doing worse than sub-Saharan Africa,". The 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report places India amongst thethree countries where the GHI between 1996 and 2011 went up from 22.9to 23.7, while 78 out of the 81 developing countries studied, includingPakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria, Myanmar, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Malawi, succeeded in improving hunger condition.
Tendulkar was a member of the Prime Ministers EconomicAdvisory Council (PMEAC) from 2004 to 2008. SureshTendulkar headed committee named as Suresh TendulkarCommittee to look into the people living under poverty linein India. Prof. Tendulkars pioneering contribution was hisextensive work on poverty and estimation of people belowpoverty line (BPL). A committee was formed bygovernment of India in 2009, with Tendulkar as Chairmanto report on methodology of estimation of poverty. In2009, this committee came out with a new method tocalculate poverty. According to this method, the number ofthe poor in India in 2004–05 rose from 27.5 per cent of thetotal population to 37.2 per cent. This report has also helpedstrengthen the case for donating to the needy and giving Inpast, poverty was estimated by looking at a limited view ofmoney required for stipulated minimum calorie intake byindividuals. But the Tendulkar committee moved to a widerdefinition, including spending on food as well aseducation, health, light(electricity), clothing and footwear.
The main causes of urban poverty are predominantly due toimpoverishment of rural peasantry that forces them to move outof villages to seek some subsistence living in the towns and cities.In this process, they even lose the open space or habitat they hadin villages albeit without food and other basic amenities. Whenthey come to the cities, they get access to some food though othersanitary facilities including clean water supply still elude them.And they have to stay in the habitats that place them under sub-human conditions. While a select few have standards of livingcomparable to the richest in the world, the majority fails to get twomeals a day.
The causes of rural poverty are manifold including inadequateand ineffective implementation of anti-poverty programmes. Theoverdependence on monsoon with non-availability of irrigationalfacilities often result in crop-failure and low agriculturalproductivity forcing farmers in the debt-traps. The ruralcommunities tend to spend large percentage of annual earnings onsocial ceremonies like marriage; feast etc. Our economicdevelopment since Independence has been lopsided .There hasbeen increase in unemployment creating poverty like situationsfor many. Population is growing at an alarming rate. The size ofthe Indian family is relatively bigger averaging at 4.2. The othercauses include dominance of caste system which forces theindividual to stick to the traditional and hereditary occupations.
Rapidly rising population (The populationduring the last 45 years has increased at therate of 2.2% per annum. On average 17 millionpeople are added every year to its populationwhich raises the demand for consumptiongoods considerably. Low Productivity in Agriculture (The level of productivityin agriculture is low due to subdivided and fragmentedholdings, lack of capital, use of traditional methods ofcultivation, illiteracy etc. This is the main cause of poverty in the country. Under Utilized Resources:(The existence of under employment and disguised unemployment of human resourcesand under utilization of resources has resulted in low production in agricultural sector.This brought a down fall in their standard of living.) Low Rate of Economic Development (The rate of economic development in India hasbeen below the required level. Therefore, there persists a gap between level ofavailability and requirements of goods and services. The net result is poverty.)
Price Rise(The continuous and steep price rise has added to themiseries of poor. It has benefited a few people in the society andthe persons in lower income group find it difficult to get theirminimum needs.) Unemployment (The continuously expanding army ofunemployed is another cause of poverty. The job seeker isincreasing in number at a higher rate than the expansion inemployment opportunities.) Shortage of Capital and Able Entrepreneurship (Capital and ableentrepreneurship have important role in accelerating the growth.But these are in short supply making it difficult to increaseproduction significantly.) Social Factors (The social set up is still backward and is notconducive to faster development. Laws of inheritance, castesystem, traditions and customs are putting hindrances in the wayof faster development and have aggravate" the problem ofpoverty.) Political Factors (The Britishers started lopsided development inIndia and reduced Indian economy to a colonial state. Theyexploited the natural resources to suit their interests and weakenthe industrial base of Indian economy. In independent India, the development plans have been guided bypolitical interests. Hence, the planning a failure to tackle theproblems of poverty and unemployment.)
Overpopulation in India is not just a myth but a crude fact to both thenationals and the government. According to an estimation, around 53% ofthe below 5 years Indian population is malnourished and 37% had noaccess to safe drinking water. In Mumbai, about 15 million people arecompelled to reside at the sidewalks and more than 25% of Indianpopulace falls under the poverty line. This scenario is good enough toprove that overpopulation problems in this country have becomeextremely concerning. Another survey revealed that India is one country that contributes largestdaily counts in the total world population which sums up to an increaseof 12 million people every year. Slums of India are simply over boardedwith countless children taking birth every day. People, who are unable toarrange for two times’ foods on regular basis, do not refrain from givingbirth to babies. These street children simply grow up without adequatefood, facilities and education. Thus they contribute to the overwhelmingunemployment in India. It is almost impossible for the government toaward all the young people of India with a job and sufficient food.
The biggest challenge facing Indias policy makers is the persistinghigh incidence of poverty. One of the reasons for the high incidence of poverty in India is itsbackward agriculture,whose productivity per hectare and percapita is amongst the lowest. The low per capita production is notonly due to huge population, but also due to low productivity,which is only 64 percent of the world average. The productivity potential of Indian agriculture has been amplydemonstrated in Punjab, where it is nearly equal to those ofdeveloped countries. If India attains the productivity level alreadyachieved in Punjab, the national income of India would be morethan double of what it is today. Taking into consideration the vastuntapped potential of Indian agriculture, the pool of unutilizedscientific knowledge and the eagerness of Indian farmers respondto opportunities, neither Indian agriculture should remainbackward, nor our people should remain almost the poorest in theworld.
Unemployment leads to financial crisis and reduces the overallpurchasing capacity of a nation. This in turn results in povertyfollowed by increasing burden of debt. Now, poverty can bedescribed in several ways. As per the World Bankdefinition, poverty implies a financial condition where people areunable to maintain the minimum standard of living. In India, the problems of unemployment and poverty have alwaysbeen major obstacles to economic development.Underemployment and unemployment have crippled the Indianeconomy from time to time. Even during the period of goodharvest, the Indian farmers are not employed for the entire year.Excessive population is another major problem as far as Indianeconomy is concerned. Regional disparity is also crucial in thiscontext. A part of the urban workforce in India is subjected to sub-employment. Mass migration from rural to urban regions isadding to the problems of unemployment and poverty in India
The government should become more accountable, carry out labour and landreforms, ensure higher credit flow to rural India and improve education to bring downpoverty in India, according to a study carried out by London [ School ofEconomics."India is growing at an unprecedented rate. But there are concerns. Howmuch of the benefits of growth are shared with the poor?" the study commissioned byWorld Bank and Department of International Development said. "Given its large population, the pattern of poverty reduction in India will have asignificant bearing on whether the millennium development goal of halving globalpoverty by 2015 is achieved," the study jointly carried out by Timothy Besley, RobinBurgess and Berta Esteve-Volart, said. India has reduced its poverty level to less than 26 per cent but the number of peoplebelow poverty line is still a staggering 260 million (26 crore). During the last 40 years, the study said economic growth was given more importancethan income distribution and inequality. Service sector growth was one of the importantsource of poverty reduction, it added. The London School of Economics mooted a five point agenda to reduce poverty in India- accountability of government, relaxation of labour laws, increasing access to bankfinance to rural poor, increasing literacy level and land reforms. Elaborating on the 5-point agenda, Besley said political economy must take centre stagein efforts to reduce poverty and government needs to be more responsive to needs ofcitizens. Deregulation of labour laws to make it more pro-employer has helped some of the statesto log higher economic growth and reduce urban poverty while those adopting pro-worker policies witnessed higher unemployment, he said.
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