Vulnerability to poverty is a measure, which describes the greater probability of certain communities (say, members of a backward caste) or individuals (such as a widow or a physically handicapped person) of becoming, or remaining, poor in the coming years.
Vulnerability is determined by the options available to different communities for finding an alternative living in terms of assets, education, health and job opportunities. Further, it is analysed on the basis of the greater risks these groups face at the time of natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunami), terrorism etc.
In , vulnerability describes the greater probability of being more adversely affected than other people when bad time comes for everybody, whether a flood or an earthquake.
The proportion of people below poverty line is also not same for all social groups and economic categories in India. Social groups which are most vulnerable to poverty are scheduled caste and scheduled tribe households.
Similarly, among the economic groups, the most vulnerable groups are the rural agricultural labour households and the urban casual labour households. 51 out of 100 people belonging to scheduled tribes are not able to meet their basic needs. Similarly, 50 per cent of casual workers in urban areas are below poverty line.
About 50 per cent of landless agricultural workers and 43 per cent of scheduled castes are also poor. Apart from these social groups, there is also inequality of incomes within a family. In poor families all suffer, but some suffer more than others. Women, elderly people and female infants are systematically denied equal access to resources available to the family.
Therefore women, children (especially the girl child) and old people are poorest of the poor.
According to this concept, poverty must be seen in terms of the poor having to live only in a poor surrounding with other poor people, excluded from enjoying social equality of better -off people in better surroundings.
Social exclusion can be both a cause as well as a consequence of poverty in the usual sense.
Broadly, it is a process through which individuals or groups are excluded from facilities, benefits and opportunities that others (their “betters”) enjoy.
A common method used to measure poverty is based on the income or consumption levels.
A person is considered poor if his or her income or consumption level falls below a given “minimum level” necessary to fulfill basic needs. What is necessary to satisfy basic needs is different at different times and in different countries.
Therefore, poverty line may vary with time and place. Each country uses an imaginary line that is considered appropriate for its existing level of development and its accepted minimum social norms. While determining the poverty line in India, a minimum level of food requirement, clothing, footwear, fuel and light, educational and medical requirement etc. are determined for subsistence. The accepted average calorie requirement in India is 2400 calories per person per day in rural areas and 2100 calories per person per day in urban areas. However, for making comparisons between developing countries, many international organisations like the World Bank use a uniform standard for the poverty line: minimum availability of the equivalent of
It was introduced in 2000 – 2001 with the objective of focusing on village level development in five critical areas, i.e., Primary Health, Primary Education, Housing, Rural Roads and Drinking Water and Nutrition with the overall objective of improving the quality of life of people in rural areas. Rural electrification was added as an additional component from 2001 – 2002.
* It was launched on December 25, 2000 with the objective of providing road connectivity through good all weather roads to all rural habitations with a population of more than 1000 persons by the Year 2003 and those with a population of more than 500 persons by the Year 2007.
* Launched on April 1, 2000. Based on the pattern of Indira Awas Yojana, the scheme is being implemented in the rural areas throughout the country with the objective of sustainable habitat development.
* Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (Rural Drinking Water Project).
National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(NREGS)
* It was launched on February 2, 2006. The on – going programs of Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) and National Food for Work Programme (NFFWP) were subsumed within the NREGS in the 200 districts identified in the initial stage. All the districts in the country are covered under the scheme now. The features of the scheme are :
* State Government to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial Year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
* Until such time as a wage rate is fixed by the Central Government, the minimum wage for agricultural laborers shall be applicable for the scheme.
* An applicant not provided employment within fifteen days, to be entitled to a daily unemployment allowance as specified by the State Government subject to its economic capacity, provided such rate is not less than quarter of the wage rate for the first thirty days during the financial Year and not less than a half of the wage rate for the remaining period of the financial Year.
It was started on September 25, 2001, with the mergence of the Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS) and the Jawahar Gram Samriddhi Yojana (JGSY). Earlier Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, which started in 1989, was merged with Jawahar Gram Samriddhi Yojana.
This scheme has been subsumed in National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
* Accepting the policy ‘a step towards village’, Union Government launched a new scheme, named ‘Bharat Nirman Yojana’ on December 16, 2005. This scheme aims at developing rural infrastructure. The duration of implementing this scheme has been determined for four Years with the expected expenditure of Rupee 1,74,000 crore. The major six sectors and their targets for next four Years are :
* Irrigation : To ensure irrigation for additional one crore hectare of land by 2009.
* Roads : To link all villages of 1,000 populations with roads and also to link all ST and hilly villages up to 500 populations with roads.
* Housing : Construction of 60 lakh additional houses for the poor.
* Water Supply : To ensure drinking water to all remaining 74,000 villages.
* Electrification : To supply electricity to all remaining 1,25,000 villages and to provide electricity connection to 2.3 crore houses.
* Rural Communication : To provide telephone facility to all remaining 66,822 villages.
* The SJSRY came into operation in December 1997, through a restructuring and streamlining of the earlier urban poverty alleviation programs, the Nehru Rozgar Yojana (NRY), the Urban Basic Services for the Poor (UBSP) and the Prime Ministers Integrated Urban Poverty Alleviation Programme (PMIUPEP).
* It seeks to provide employment to the urban employed or underemployed living below poverty line and educate up to IX standard through encouraging the setting up of self – employment ventures or provision of wage employment.
* It is funded by the Centre and States on 75 : 25 bases.
* Launched on December 25, 2000, the scheme aims at providing food security to poor families.
* The Scheme contemplates identification of 10 million poorest of the poor families and providing them with 35 kg of food grains per family per month at a low price of Rupee 2 per kg of wheat and Rupee 3 per kg for rice.
* Initially the scheme provided 10 kg food grains to senior citizens who were eligible f0r old age pension but could not get it due to one reason or the other. Later on, it was extended to cover those people also who get old age pensions.
* Food grains are provided to the beneficiaries at subsidized rates of Rupee 2 per kg of wheat and Rupee 3 per kg of rice.
* The scheme was launched on October 2, 1993 and initially was in operation in Urban areas From April 1, 1994, the scheme is being implemented throughout the country.
* Under this scheme every selected educated unemployed youth in the age group of 18 – 35 Years and having family income below Rupee 40,000 is provided a loan of up to Rupee 1 lakh for opening his own enterprise and Rupee 2 lakhs for other activities.
* Projects involving two or more than two partners may be given a loan up to Rupee 10 lakhs. Under this scheme, 15% of the total project cost (maximum Rupee 15,000) is given to the beneficiary as subsidy. 5% of equity is to be invested by the beneficiary himself and the remaining cost of the project is financed by the concerned bank.
* The entrepreneurs of these tiny units are provided adequate training and also given assistance of raw material and marketing, if required.
* Micro – enterprises from commercial sector should not comprise more than 30 percent. This scheme is being administered by Union Industry Ministry. SC/ST and other backward classes have been given reservation of 22.5% and 27% respectively.
> In 1947, the average annual income in India was $439, compared with $619 for China, $770 for South Korea, and $936 for Taiwan. By 1999, the numbers were $1,818; $3,259; US$13,317; and $15,720. (numbers are in 1990 international Maddison dollars) In other words, the average income in India was not much different from South Korea in 1947, but South Korea became a developed country by 2000s. At the same time, India was left as one of the world's poorer countries.
India had started out in the 1950s with:-
high growth rates
openness to trade and investment
a promotional state
social expenditure awareness
but ended the 1980s with:
low growth rates
closure to trade and investment
a license-obsessed, restrictive state
inability to sustain social expenditures
macro instability, indeed crisis.
Poverty has decreased significantly since reforms were started in the 1980s .