Poverty, according to the United Nations, is defined as a lack of access to fundamental human needs such as food, safe drinking water, sanitation, health, shelter, education, and information. It is determined not only by income but also by the availability of services.
Between 2006 and 2016, India brought 271 million people out of poverty, according to the 2019 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index. However, over 28% of India’s population is still living in poverty.
Poverty as a state of economic inadequacy:
- The unequal distribution of wealth is a defining feature of Indian society. The richest 1% of India’s population now owns 73 percent of the country’s wealth, while the poorest half of the population, 67 crore people, saw their wealth rise by only 1%. As a result, many impoverished and backward members of society are unable to meet their basic human needs.
- In terms of economics, India is still mostly an agricultural society. One of the key causes of poverty is the overdependence of the labour force on underdeveloped agriculture.
- Apart from poor aggregate demand, other variables that are thought to produce poverty include unemployment, excessive inflation, and a lack of infrastructure.
Poverty As a Form of Social and Political Marginalisation:
- Discrimination against specific groups of individuals based on their ethnicity, colour, religion, sexual orientation, caste, descent, gender, age, handicap, HIV status, migrant status, or where they live is known as social exclusion.
- Discrimination occurs in both public and private organisations, such as the legal system, education, and health care, as well as in social institutions such as the home. As a result, they are deprived of basic human necessities, which is one of the primary features of poverty.
- It causes them material harm by denying them access to resources, markets, and public services, resulting in poverty in terms of income, health, and education.
- Minority and marginalised groups are frequently excluded from political decision-making. People’s livelihoods, education, health, and access to other essential services have all suffered as a result of their absence from political decision-making.
- Because poverty is a multifaceted problem, effective anti-poverty programmes must be developed to target the numerous components of poverty.
The following are some of the government’s initiatives in this regard:
MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act):
- Aimed at boosting household life security by providing guaranteed wage employment, hence increasing their purchasing power.
- Housing for All by 2022 is a nonprofit organisation whose purpose is to offer affordable housing to all of the world’s impoverished.
National Rural Livelihood Mission:
- A component of it, the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana aims to cover 7 million rural poor households, 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats, and 6 lakh villages in the country through self-managed Self Help Groups (SHGs) and federated institutions, and support them for livelihood collectives over an eight-to-ten-year period.
- Rural roads account for roughly 80% of the country’s road network and are a lifeline for the great majority of the population who live in villages, hence the government introduced the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) on December 25, 2000 as part of its poverty reduction plan.
Creating more and better jobs, in addition to these measures, is critical for empowering the poor so that they can continue to meet their requirements.