Poverty in India

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Challenges of Chronic
Poverty in India

Challenges of Chronic Poverty

Table of Contents
Topic

Page No.

An Overview of Poverty ------------------------------------ 3 Poverty Level across States---------------------------------- 3 UNDP’s Poverty Profile of India ----------------------------- 3 How India Stands Globally ----------------------------------- 4 Multidimensional Poverty Index ----------------------------- 5 Global Hunger Index ----------------------------------------- 5 Defining Poverty -------------------------------------------- 6 Official Poverty Line ------------------------------------------ 7 Other estimates of Poverty ---------------------------------- 7 Tendulkar Committee recommendation ------------------ 8

Understanding the Poor and Poverty --------------------- 9
Symptoms of Poverty ------------------------------------- 10 A Rational Approach to Removing Poverty ------------- 11
Opportunity ------------------------------------------------- 11 Empowerment ---------------------------------------------- 12 Security ----------------------------------------------------- 12 Where have we Failed? ----------------------------------- 13 Are Market Reforms Anti-Poor? ------------------------- 14

Reforms at the cost of Poor?------------------------------- 14 Poverty and Market Reforms ------------------------------ 15 Government Efforts to Tackle Poverty ------------------ 15
Self-employment Programs -------------------------------- 16 Wage Employment Programs ------------------------------ 17
Food Safety Programs -------------------------------------- 19 Social Security Programs ---------------------------------- 20 Miscellaneous Programs------------------------------------ 20 The Way Forward ----------------------------------------- 21 Bibliography ----------------------------------------------- 22

Challenges of Chronic Poverty in India

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Challenges of Chronic Poverty

An Overview of Poverty in India
With a population of 1.21 billion, India is the world’s
largest democracy. In the past decade, the country
has witnessed accelerated economic growth, emerged
as a global player with the world’s fourth largest
economy in purchasing power parity terms, and
made progress on most of the Millennium
Development Goals.
However, poverty remains a major challenge. The
World Bank, which defines poverty as survival on less
than $1.25 per day, says India reduced poverty from
60% of the populace to 42% between 1981 and
2005. Putting the new method (Tendulkar
Committee) to use, 37% population was poor in 2005
and it has reduced to 32.7% in 2010 – (about 350
million people still remains poor) making India home
to one fourth of the world’s 1.4 billion poor people.
Resources generated from recent growth are now
being invested into a set of very ambitious programs to deliver services to the poor. These programs – providing elementary education, basic health care, health insurance, rural roads and rural connectivity, and other services – aim at realizing the fundamental rights of the people.

These programs have achieved partial results on the ground.
Between 2003 and 2009, the number of out-of-school children
declined from 25 million to 8 million (less than 5% for the 6-14 age group). Leprosy, polio, and TB are almost under control and the spread of AIDS has been kept in check. However, India still has a higher rate of malnutrition among children under the age of three (46% in year 2007) than any other country in the world, which is almost a third of the world’s total.

World’s Largest Slum
The world's largest slum,
on 432 acres, is located in
Dharavi, Mumbai.

Poverty Level across States and Communities
There is a wide variation in poverty level among States across the country. It is lowest (less than or around 10%) in Punjab, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, and Kerala. Poorest states are Orissa, UP and Bihar with over 40% people below poverty, followed by MP and Assam with...
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