The Unorganized Sector and Urban Poverty: a Policy Analysis

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The Unorganized Sector and Urban Poverty: A Policy Analysis
Manas Kumar Mallik( & Dr. C. Aruna(
The construction of poverty line should be on the basis of socially accepted minimum standard of living. Poverty abounds both in the rural and urban sectors of the economy. The nature of poverty in rural sector is intense and manifest amongst the peasant-cultivators with very small holdings and landless labourers. Poverty in urban areas is an extension of rural poverty where migrant’s workers feature prominently amongst the poor who are unemployed, underemployed or employed in various low productivity occupations such as porter age, street peddling, etc., or employed in jobs either with in secure employment or with very low real wages. Orissa remains India’s poorest state with 47.2 per cent (about million people) of its population, constituting almost 7per cent of India’s poor living below the poverty line (BPL) against the national average of 26.1 per cent (GOI 2001). The impact of changing urban policies on the conditions and status of workers in unorganized/informal sector begins with the analysis of model of urbanization, urban policies, profile of urban workers, their education and skill levels and problems faced by informal sector. It is pointed out that the current model of urbanization has less space and resources for the urban poor. The social security and working conditions of the workers are important aspects and the account of the National Commission for enterprises in unorganized sector has suggested addressing these issues. Skill is a form of security and it improves employability of the workers. A system of skill training for urban areas will be a useful way forward in promoting employment opportunities amongst the urban workers. This paper attempts to analyse the various urban poverty alleviation policies of the State of Orissa and attempts at a review of the impact of various programmes by the Government through an analysis of secondary data available. Introduction

Efforts for poverty alleviation in developing countries are generally directed towards rural areas. This is based on the empirical evidence of poverty in developing countries being concentrated in rural areas. However, along with economic growth and its consequent impact on urbanization, poverty in developing countries also follows a gradual shift from being predominantly concentrated in rural areas to shifting gradually to urban areas. This, however, does not follow any predetermined pattern and country experiences vary according to the nature of sectoral growth as well as its implications for poverty and its distribution in rural and urban areas. The past quarter has been a period of unprecedented change and progress in the developing world. India is a haven to 22 per cent of the world's poor. Such a high incidence of poverty is a matter of apprehension, in view of the fact that poverty eradication has been one of the major objectives of the development process. Poverty eradication is considered integral to humanity's mission for sustainable development. Thus, reduction of poverty in India is vital for the development. The philosophy underlying the poverty alleviation programmes is to tackle the rural poverty by endowing the poor with productive assets and training for raising their skills so that they are assured of a regular stream of employment and income in raising themselves above the poverty line. Poverty has declined in Orissa from 66.18 per cent of the population being under BPL in 1973-74 to 47.15 per cent BPL in 1999-00. However, the pace of poverty reduction has been extremely slow compared to the average for the entire country since the All India index declined from 54.88 per cent to 26.10 per cent i.e., a decline of almost 50 per cent within 27 years whereas Orissa state could achieve only  19 per cent. States like Punjab could decrease their BPL from 28.15 per cent to 6.16 per cent...
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