Poverty in India is one of the main issues, attracting the attention of sociologists and economists. It indicates a condition in which a person fails to maintain a living standard adequate for a comfortable lifestyle. Though India boasts of a high economic growth, it is shameful that there is still large scale poverty in India. Poverty in India can be defined as a situation when a certain section of people are unable to fulfill their basic needs. India has the world's largest number of poor people living in a single country. Out of its total population of more than 1 billion, 350 to 400 million people are living below the poverty line. Nearly 75% of the poor people are in rural areas, most of them are daily wagers, landless laborers and self employed house holders. There are a number of reasons for poverty in India. Causes of Poverty in India:
High level of dependence on primitive methods of agriculture
Unequal distribution of income.
High population growth rate
High Illiteracy (about 35% of adult population)
Protectionist policies pursued till 1991 that prevented high foreign investment. Major Crisis:
Major Rural crisis of the nation which need an immediate attention in order to enable all the fundamental rights of a citizen are as follows:
Growing unemployment and underemployment.
Falling purchasing power.
Declining per capita availability of food grains.
Reduced farm incomes and real wage growth.
Indebtedness and land alienation, esp. for small and marginal farmers.
Deceleration in agricultural growth, productivity per worker and rural non-agricultural employment growth.
Slackening pace of poverty reduction and worsening poverty amongst marginalized social groups and ethnic minorities. Step taken by Government:
BPL – Below Poverty Line.
Employment and Rural Development Policies :
Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY): The scheme involves organisation of the poor into Self Help Groups (SHGs) build their capacities through a process of social mobilization, their training, selection of key activities, planning of activity clusters, creation of infrastructure, provision of technology and marketing support, etc. Under the scheme focus is on the group approach. However, individual Swarozgaris are also assisted.
Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY): It aims to provide assistance for construction / up gradation of dwelling units to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) rural households, with special emphasis on SCs, STs and freed bonded labour categories. A maximum assistance of Rs 35,000 per unit is provided for construction in plain areas and Rs 38,500 per unit for hilly/difficult areas.
National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP): It was launched with the aim to provide social assistance benefit to poor households in the case of old age, death of primary breadwinner and maternity. The programme supplements the efforts of the State Governments with the objective of ensuring minimum national levels of well being and the Central assistance is an addition to the benefit that the States are already providing on Social Protection Schemes.
Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP): During the Eleventh Plan, the three area development programmes, namely, Integrated Wasteland Development Programme, Drought Prone Area Programme and Desert Development Programme have been integrated and consolidated into a single programme called Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP). This consolidation is for optimum use of resources, sustainable outcomes an integrated planning. Employment Guarantee Act: The Basic Idea
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