Poverty as a Challenge
Q42. Answer the following questions briefly
(i) What do you understand by human poverty?
(ii) Who are the poorest of the poor?
(iii) What are the main features of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005?
Ans. (i) Poverty is about a “minimum” subsistence level of living rather than a “reasonable” level of living. Many scholars advocate that we must broaden the concept into human poverty. A large number of people may have been able to feed themselves. But they do not have education or shelter or health care or job security or self-confidence. They are not free from caste and gender discrimination. The practice of child labour is still common.
(ii) Women, elderly people and female infants are systematically denied equal access to resources available to the family. Therefore women, children (especially the girl child) and old people are poorest of the poor.
(iii) Main features of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) are:
- The act was 2005 was passed in September 2005.
- The Act provides 100 days assured employment every year to every rural household in 200 districts.
- Later, the scheme will be extended to 600 districts.
- One third of the proposed jobs would be reserved for women.
Q43. Give an account of interstate disparities of poverty in India.
Ans. Inter-State Disparities
- The success rate of reducing poverty varies from state to state.
- Recent estimates show that in 20 states and union territories, the poverty ratio is less than the national average.
- On the other hand, poverty is still a serious problem in Orissa, Bihar, Assam, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.
- Orissa and Bihar continue to be the two poorest states with poverty ratios of 47 and 43 per cent respectively.
- There has been a significant decline in poverty in Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengal.
- States like Punjab and Haryana have traditionally succeeded in reducing poverty with the help of high agricultural growth rates.
- Kerala has focused more on human resource development. In West Bengal, land reform measures have helped in reducing poverty.
- In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu public distribution of food grains could have been responsible for the improvement.
Q44. Describe global poverty trends.
Ans. Global Poverty Scenario
- The proportion of people in developing countries living in extreme economic poverty— defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1.25 per day—has fallen from 43 per cent in 1990 to 22 per cent in 2008.
- Although there has been a substantial reduction in global poverty, it is marked with great regional differences.
- Poverty declined substantially in China and Southeast Asian countries as a result of rapid economic growth and massive investments in human resource development.
- Number of poor in China has come down from 85 per cent in 1981 to 14 per cent in 2008.
- In the countries of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan) the decline has not been as rapid.
- In Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty in fact rose from 51 per cent in 1981 to 47 per cent in 2008.
- In Latin America, the ratio of poverty remained the same. It has declined from 11% in 1981 to 6.4 per cent in 2008.
- Poverty has also resurfaced in some of the former socialist countries like Russia, where officially it was non-existent earlier.
Q45. Describe current government strategy of poverty alleviation?
Ans. The current anti-poverty strategy of the government is based broadly on two planks (1) promotion of economic growth (2) targeted anti-poverty programmes.
Some of the anti-poverty programmes undertaken by government are:
- Prime Minister Rozgar Yozana (PMRY) is a scheme which was started in 1993. The aim of the programme is to create self-employment opportunities for educated unemployed youth in rural areas and small towns.
- Under the Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yozana (PMGY) launched in 2000, additional central assistance is given to states for basic services such as primary health, primary education, rural shelter, rural drinking water and rural electrification.
- National Food for Work Programme (NFWP) was launched in 2004 in 150 most backward districts of the country. The programme is open to all rural poor who are in need of wage employment and desire to do manual unskilled work.
- National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) 2005 was passed in September 2005. The Act provides 100 days assured employment every year to every rural household in 200 districts.