Since independence from colonial rule and striving towards acing development in every sector, India’s most problematic challenge is poverty. The class 9 syllabus of social science entails a very informative chapter called Poverty as a Challenge. It aims to explore the prevalent poverty in the country in detail along with various other important subtopics. Predominantly, this topic falls under the section of Economics part, hence, it also explains the government’s measures to tackle this challenge. So, let’s get started and elaborate on the essential pointers of this chapter.
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Typical Two Cases Of Poverty
Poverty can be simply understood as hunger and lack of shelter, lack of clean water and sanitation facilities as well as lack of employment and daily wages. Poverty in India can be encountered at every nook and corner, hence, as per the chapter on poverty as a challenge, every 4th citizen in India is poor. Bringing millions of its people out of abject poverty is one of the biggest challenges of Independent India. Mainly, there are two typical examples that can illustrate the poverty of India, i.e. urban case and rural case.
The urban case of poverty puts forward the story of Ram Saran, a daily wage labourer at a flour mill in Ranchi. While Saran’s wife and elder son also carry out daily wage jobs, the family is still not able to meet the ends and has no access to healthcare and nutritious food but somehow manages to meagre meals on a daily.
The rural case elaborates on the story of Lakhan Singh, a labourer working odd jobs for big farmers in Meerut, UP. His family of eight barely manages to get daily meals and being landless, he only carries out work for other rich farmers in his village.
Studying these two cases to understand poverty as a challenge in India, the imperative themes and factors leading up to increasing poverty in the country are brought forward and these are:
- Poor Health/Malnutrition
- Child Labour
- Size of Families
Social scientists look at poverty with a variety of indicators and generally define it as a certain level of income. However, these indicators have been expanded to include illiteracy level, lack of general resistance due to malnutrition, lack of access to healthcare, etc.
Poverty Line of India
The poverty line is a vital concept in poverty as a challenge. It can be defined as a predetermined value that indicates the limit below which people are considered poor. In the case of poverty in India, there are two ways to calculate the poverty line.
- Income Method: This approach refers to the minimum income needed per month to purchase basic necessities to draft the poverty line. For the year 2011-12, the poverty line limit was determined at Rs. 1000 for urban areas and Rs. 816 for the rural population.
- Consumption Method: In this method, the required daily calorie intake is multiplied by current prices. For rural areas, the necessary calories are 2400 calories and 2100 calories in urban ones.
Do You Know: The poverty line of India is calculated by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO).
The poverty of India fell from about 45 % in 1993-94 to 37.2% in 2004-05. This further reduced to 21.9% 2011-12.
The social groups most susceptible to poverty are Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). The rural agricultural labour and the urban casual labour amongst the economic groups are considered to be the most vulnerable.
In India, the proportion of poor people differs from state to state. The recent estimates show that Bihar and Odisha continue to be the most impoverished states with poverty rates of 33.7% and 37.6%, respectively.
Global Poverty Scenario
Global poverty has fallen drastically. In China and Southeast Asian countries, rapid economic growth and massive investments in human resources have improved the poverty scenario.
Causes Of Poverty
A variety of causes has led to the state of poverty in India. Some of these are explained in the chapter on poverty as a challenge. Let us discuss these:
- Low level of economic development is considered to be the historical reason for the widespread poverty of India. The colonial government policies ruined the traditional handicrafts and textile industries and many others.
- The Green Revolution created job opportunities in the agricultural sector. However, the effects were limited to some parts of India and were not enough to absorb all the job seekers.
- Income inequality is another reason for the high rate of poverty which was mainly because of the unequal distribution of land and other resources.
Poverty as a Challenge class 9 focuses on the anti-poverty measures taken by the government to handle poverty. Anti-poverty programmes are direly needed to tackle the challenge of poverty. Hence, a few of these have been formulated by the Indian government to affect poverty directly or indirectly and some are worth mentioning, such as :
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005: This scheme allows 100 days of wage employment to every household. This ensures the security of livelihood in rural areas.
Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana (PMRY), 1993: This policy creates self-employment opportunities for educated unemployed youth.
Rural employment Generation Programme,1995: This scheme generates self-employment opportunities in rural and small towns.
Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, 1999: This policy aims to pull-up assisted low-income families above the poverty line.
Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana, 2000: This measure gives states additional central assistance for essential services like primary health, education, rural shelter, rural drinking water.
The Challenges Ahead
In India, poverty as a challenge needs to be handled in a more efficient way so that we will be able to achieve our goals in a shorter period of time. Poverty reduction is expected to make better progress in the next ten to fifteen years. This can be possible with higher economic growth, increasing stress on universal free elementary education, and declining population growth.
Questions for Poverty as a Challenge Class 9
- Describe how the poverty line is estimated in India?
- Do you think that the present methodology of poverty estimation is appropriate?
- Describe poverty trends in India since 1973?
- Why do different countries use different poverty lines?
- What do you think would be the “minimum necessary level” in your locality?
- Discuss the major reasons for poverty in India?
- Are the dynamics of poverty reduction the same in rural and urban India?
- Define vulnerable groups in India.
- Identify the social and economic groups which are most vulnerable to poverty in India.
- Give an account of interstate disparities of poverty in India.
- Describe global poverty trends.
- Describe the current government strategy of poverty alleviation?
- List out the anti-poverty measures taken by the Indian government.
- What do you understand by human poverty?
- Who are the poorest of the poor?
- What are the main features of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005?
(a) National Federation for Work and Progress
(b) National Forest for Wildlife Protection
(c) National Food and Wheat Processing
(d) National Food for Work Programme
(d) National Food for Work Programme
(a) Tamil Nadu
(c) West Bengal
(a) Rs 328
(b) Rs. 370
(c) Rs 454
(d) Rs. 460
(a) Rs 328
(a) Scheduled castes
(b) Scheduled tribes
(c) Casual labourers
(d) All the above
(d) All the above
(a) 30 crores
(b) 26 crores
(c) 28 crores
(d) 24 crores
(b) 26 crores
People suffering from poverty lack access to adequate food, suitable clothing, medical care, and a clean environment. Poor health results from a lack of these essential demands. Most of them are malnourished, and they don’t even have the money to see a doctor.
Poverty is defined by hunger and a lack of shelter, as well as a lack of clean water and sanitation facilities and a regular work at a minimum decent level. Poverty is seen as one of the most serious difficulties confronting independent India. Only when the poorest of its people are free of human suffering will India be genuinely independent.
Poor families cannot afford to educate their children. Their cerebral development is stunted due to a lack of education. Their physical growth is suffering as a result of a lack of food. The fundamental explanation for the tremendous growth in “poverty” is the country’s growing population.
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