Poverty is a level of living that is so low that inhibits the physical mental social cultural economic development of the individuals or the groups.The problem of poverty in India after Independence can be described in terms of the social classes, castes or groups affected with poverty in rural and urban areas. It can also be discussed in terms of magnitude of the problem and the linkage between rural and urban poverty.

Rural and Urban Poor :

In India, large sections of the population live in abject poverty. The poor live in rural and urban areas.

  1. In the rural areas, they consist of small landholders, agricultural labourers, artisans and craftsmen. They mainly belong to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward castes.
  2. In urban areas, the poor people are usually engaged in the informal sector and some low paid jobs in the organized sector.They are employed in unskilled semi-skilled and also some low-income jobs.
  3. They work as wage earners in industries, trade, commerce, transport and construction industry. A large number of them are also engaged in self-employed activities as rickshaw-puller, shoe-repairers, and vendors, owners of a tea shop and pan-bidi shop and even beggars.The urban poor living as slum dwellers and pavement dwellers are found in abundance in Indian towns and cities.
  4. The condition of both the urban and the rural poor is miserable. They own very small assets or negligible assets.Their income and expenditure are very low. Their wages are meager. Many of them are unemployed and underemployed which enhances their pangs of poverty. The rate of literacy is lowest among them. They do not enjoy much of the benefits of available health facilities. They do not get even enough food to eat Their housing condition is sub-human or inhuman. They are severely exploited and oppressed by the privileged class both in the rural and urban areas.

Magnitude of Rural and Urban Poverty:

  1. The magnitude of poverty in India has been estimated in terms of the nutritional criterion which takes into account only the minimum food intake of a person to maintain working capacity. But some non-food items such as clothing, housing, education and health-care are also equally essential for a minimum standard of human living and hence must be considered while analyzing poverty. Moreover, in a developing country like India, we find that the privileged class enjoys all available modern amenities and also indulges in conspicuous consumption.
  2. This means that they buy goods and services which enhance socio-economic status and which are not affordable to the poor. The majority of the people are, on the other hand, not able to fulfil their minimum needs. There is a situation of wide socio-economic inequalities.
  3. Therefore, a proper approach to the problem of poverty has to take into consideration the prevailing inequalities with regard to distribution of assets, income and consumption expenditure both in the rural and urban areas.
  4. The proportion of people below the poverty line is also very high. It is about 40 per cent of the population after 64 years of Independence even if we take the official figure. Moreover, the number of the rural poor is more than four times the number of the urban poor. According to Dutt and Sundharam rural poverty directly affects urban poverty because most of the urban poor are migrants from the villages. These people have been driven out of their villages due to poverty there.

Causes and Persistence of Poverty

In India, we find co-existence of abject poverty of the masses and affluence of the privileged class both in the rural and urban areas since ages. The failure of the government in resolving the problem of poverty has been generally attributed to rising population, havoc of natural calamities such as drought and flood and resource deficiency of individuals. It is true that the country is still at a low level of economic development

But it is also certain that the major benefits of development have been cornered by the richer sections of the population.

  1. In reality, poverty in India is a social product and not a natural phenomenon, been socially generated reinforced and perpetuated It is consequence of extreme socio-economic inequalities.
  2. It results from differential position of different social classes, castes and groups in economic, political social and religious domains of society. Roots of poverty lies in the economic, political and social set up of society.
  3. Demographic, natural and psychological factors are off-shoots of the highly inegalitarian structure of society though they play an important role in perpetuating poverty.
Historical Factors :
  1. One historical reason is the low level of economic development under the British colonial administration. Although the final impact of the British rule on Indian living is still being debated there is no doubt that there was a substantial negative impact on the Indian economy and standard of living of the people. There was substantial deindustrialization in India under the British rule. Imports of manufactured cotton cloth from Lancashire in England displaced much local production, and India reverted to being an exporter of cotton yarn, not cloth.
  2. As over 90 per cent of Indians were engaged in agriculture throughout the British Raj period the impact on that sector was more important on living standards than anything else. British policies involved sharply raising rural taxes that enabled merchants and moneylenders to become large landowners.
  3. Under the British, India began to export food grains and as a result, as many as 26 million people died in famines between 1875 and 1900. Britain’s main goals from the Raj were to provide a market for British exports, to have India service its debt payments to Britain, and for India to provide manpower for the British imperial armies.The British Raj impoverished millions of people in India. Our natural resources were plundered our industries worked to produce goods at low prices for the British and our food grains were exported
  4. The policies of the colonial government ruined traditional handicrafts and discouraged development of industries like textiles. The low rate of growth persisted until the nineteen eighties.
Economic Factors :
  1. Unequal distribution of Economic Resources/ Assets/Wealth: The basic economic factor responsible for the problem of poverty in India is the highly unequal distribution of the economic resource of the country among various social classes and castes. We find wide inequalities in distribution of assets and income between the rich and the poor both in rural and urban areas.
  2. The productivity of labour remains low in agriculture due to highly unequal distribution of landholdings. Big landowners generally do not care much for raising agricultural production because their needs are fulfilled even at low level of production. The small and marginal farmers do not possess enough resources to make adequate use of modern input raising productivity.
  3. The agricultural labourers do not feel much motivated to work hard due to their low wages. The limited spread of the Green Revolution in agriculture has not helped much in removing the problem of mass poverty. The benefits of limited agricultural growth in agriculture have been grabbed by the rural rich.
  4. The urban poor have to lead to miserable life due to their employment in low paid jobs in the unorganized sector, low income activities of self-employment and the problems of unemployment
  5. Low capital formation:
  6. Lack of infrastructure- Lack of Support System for Economic Development
  7. Pressure of population on Available Resources:
  8. Unemployment
Political Factors :
  1. The political factors as also contributed to the prevalence of mass poverty in India since ages. The state power has been controlled by the privileged ruling class both in the urban and rural areas. The ruling class controls the machinery. It directly or indirectly protects and promotes its class interests. But the mass of the poor people have always remained powerless.
  2. The need for the alleviation of poverty was well recognized by the leaders of the Independent India. The Constitution of India directed government to take initiatives for welfare of weaker and poor sections of society .
  3. Accordingly, development had become the declared goal of the Central government and of its principal agencies i.e. – the Planning Commission. One of the objectives of planning is to remove poverty in society. However, these institutions were to work within overall socio-economic infrastructure of the country and the developing political process. But because of the strategic position of the ruling class and adopted model of development right from the beginning, the development has been drifting away from the desired goals. Land Reform act can not be implemented in many states because of Unwillingness of ruling class (Dominant Castes)
  4. At the beginning, the planning was primarily restricted to the national level Hardly any attention was paid to the problems arising out of exclusion of large sections of society and exclusion of some regions during British Period. The few measures that were taken were adopted to deal with specific problems faced by certain areas or ares facing natural calamities. Some of the already developed regions enjoyed the privilege to develop further at the cost of the backward regions which continued to stagnate.
Socio-Cultural Factors :
  1. The caste system has been an important factor in perpetuating poverty of the masses. The rigid stratification of the caste system imposed severe restrictions on occupation mobility. Generally speaking, a person born in poor lower caste lived and dies in the same social position. The caste system imposed social distance between castes with regard to marriage, food habitation and general social interaction.The upper castes were considered socially and ritually superior and the lower castes were declined inferior. The upper castes practiced discrimination against the lower castes in social and religious matters.
  2. Moreover, the belief in ‘Karma’ ‘Dharma’ justified the inegalitarian and unjust social order. It held that poverty is the consequence of one’s papa karma (bad deeds) in earlier births. Performance of Varna dharma was considered essential was made to ward off any challenge to the existing social system in which the majority of the people suffered from abject poverty while the ruling class lived a happy and prosperous life.
  3. Also most of the Indian states failed to implement land redistribution policies.A large section of the rural poor in India are the small farmers. The land that they have is, in general less fertile and dependent on rains. Their survival depends on subsistence crops and sometimes on livestock. With the rapid growth of population and without alternative sources of employment, the per-head availability of land for cultivation has steadily declined leading to fragmentation of land holdings.The income from these small land holdings is not sufficient to meet the family’s basic requirements. Farmers committing suicide due to their inability to pay back the loans that they have taken for cultivation and other domestic needs as their crops have failed due to drought or other natural calamities.
  4. Most members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes are not able to participate in the emerging employment opportunities in different sectors of the urban and rural economy as they do not have the necessary knowledge and skills to do so. A large section of urban poor in India are largely the overflow of the rural poor who migrate to urban areas in search of employment and a livelihood Industrialisation has not been able to absorb all these people. This resulted in less job opportunities and low growth rate of incomes. This was accompanied by a high growth rate of population. The two combined to make the growth rate of per capita income very low. The failure at both the fronts: promotion of economic growth and population control perpetuated the cycle of poverty.
  5. With the spread of irrigation and the Green revolution, many job opportunities were created in the agriculture sector. But the effects were limited to some parts of India. The industries, both in the public and the private sector, did provide some jobs. But these were not enough to absorb all the job seekers.
  6. Unable to find proper jobs in cities, many people started working as rickshaw pullers, vendors, construction workers, domestic servants etc. With irregular small incomes, these people could not afford expensive housing. They started living in slums on the outskirts of the cities and the problems of poverty, largely a rural phenomenon also became the feature of the urban sector.
  7. Further, nowadays priority is given to values which emphasize the fulfillment of one’s self interests. Materialism has got an upper hand over humanitarian values.We witness a mad rush among the rich people for raising their social status through indulging in conspicuous consumption, i.e., consuming those goods and services which reflect one’s financial strength and prestige like buying jewellery, cars, latest electronic gadgets, etc. This emphasis on materialism and pursuit of self interest has helped to widen the gap between the rich and the poor.
  8. Indebtedness : In order to fulfil social obligations and observe religious ceremonies, people in India, including the very poor, spend a lot of money. Small farmers need money to buy agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizer, pesticides etc. Since poor people hardly have any savings, they borrow. Unable to repay because of poverty, they become victims of indebtedness. So the high level of indebtedness is both the cause and effect of poverty.
  9. All this has created two distinct groups in society: those who posses the means of production and earn good incomes and those who have only their labour to trade for survival, Over the years, the gap between the rich and the poor in India has widened
  10. Jajmani System and Bondage System : The problem of poverty continues as ever with an added momentum.The poor has strong feelings of marginality, of helplessness, of dependence, of inferiority, sense of resignation, fatalism and low level of aspiration. These tendencies are transmitted from one generation to the next Therefore, the children of the poor are very often not psychologically geared to take full advantage of the changing conditions or increased opportunities that occur in their life. Thus the problem of poverty gets perpetuated.

Poverty Analyzed

Rural and Urban Poor

In India, large sections of the population live in abject poverty.The poor live in both rural and urban areas. In the rural areas, they consist of small landholders (Small and Marginal Farmers), agricultural labourers, artisans, and craftsmen. They mainly belong to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward castes.

In urban areas, the poor people are usually engaged in the informal sector and some low paid jobs in the organized sector.They are employed in unskilled semi-skilled and also some low-income jobs.They work as wage earners in industries, trade, commerce, transport and construction industry. A large number of them are also engaged in self-employed activities as rickshaw-puller, shoe-repairers, and vendors, owners of a tea shop and pan-bidi shop and even beggars. The urban poor living as slum dwellers and pavement dwellers are found in abundance in Indian towns and cities.

The Regional Pattern of Poverty :

  1. Poverty in India also has another aspect or dimension. The proportion of poor people is not the same in every state. Although state level poverty has witnessed a secular decline from the levels of early seventies, the success rate of reducing poverty varies from state to state.
  2. On the other hand\ poverty is still a serious problem in Orissa, Bihar; Assam, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh. As the Graph 3.2 shows, Orissa and Bihar continue to be the two poorest states with poverty ratios of 47 and 43 per cent respectively. Along with rural poverty, urban poverty is also high in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
  3. In comparison, 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.

Approaches towards poverty alleviation and development

Poverty is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon. The institutions addressing the issues of poor therefore need to engage in many sectors and with several service providers. The Government of India has taken a number of initiatives towards eradicating poverty as poverty remains to be the major hurdle towards sustainable development in the Country.

Growth Oriented Approach

  1. In the beginning, India’s Five Year Plans laid emphasis on the growth of economy of the country as a whole through raising production and the per capita income. It was postulated that the benefits of rapid economic growth would automatically trickle down to the poor people and raise their living standard through provident them more employment opportunities, higher income and more wages. Moreover, no distinction was made between rural and urban poverty and the latter was considered to simultaneously vanish with the former.
  2. The Government began with the Community Development Project (CDP) in 1952. Under this project the whole community in a particular area was taken as a homogeneous unit The emphasis was given on economic growth. The project covered the programmes like improvement in agriculture, animal husbandry, village and small industries, health and sanitation, social education etc.
  3. An effort was made to effect changes in the pattern of landownership through various land reform measures such as the abolition of the zamindari system, tenancy reforms and ceilings on land holding and distribution of surplus land to the small landholders and landless people.
  4. In the sixties, antipoverty programmes concentrated in places and in crops where these could significantly raise production. The important programmes comprised the Intensive Agricultural District Programme (IADP) and the Intensive Agricultural Area Programme (IAAP) launched in 1960 and 1964 respectively. Since the mid-sixties, the Government has mainly helped the better of farmers and big landowners to raise agricultural production through adopting modern technology in the form of use of High Yielding Varieties (HYV) of seeds, chemical fertilizers, tractors, water pumps etc.

In course of time it was realized that the benefits of these development programmes have been largely cornered by the privileged section of the rural population. The impact of land reform measures was also very limited The conditions of the poor did not improve. In fact, their number increased both in rural and urban areas.

Growth with Social Justice, Social Empowerment and Inclusivenes.

When it was observed that the growth oriented approach was a failure in effecting the trickling down of benefits of development to the poor, the five year plans started giving special emphasis on the cause of social justice.The motto of development since the early seventies became growth with social justice. Special pogrammes were launched to benefit the backward areas and backward section of the population e.g. small and marginal farmers and landless labourers and especially those belonging to the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes.

Programmes in Rural Areas :
  1. In rural areas, various programmes came into operation such as Small Farmers Development Agency (SEDA). Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labourers (MFAL) and Drought Prone Area Programmes (DPAP).
  2. The concept of Antyodaya (all-round development of all poorest section in each village) came in 1977. Food for work programme was started in the same year to provide employment to the rural poor particularly in slack season.This programme was rechristened National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) in 1980.
  3. Special sub-plans were introduced to remove regional disparities and development especially of the hill and tribal areas.
  4. Minimum Needs Programme was launched to secure to the rural areas certain basic amenities in the field of education, health, drinking water, electrification, roads and home sites for the poor.
  5. The national scheme of Training Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM) was started in 1979 with a view to removing unemployment among the rural youth.
  6. The Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) was initiated in 1983 to offer more employment opportunities for the rural landless.The Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) aimed at providing assistance to families below the poverty line to raise their income and assets over the poverty line. The Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) has been launched in April 1989 for removal of unemployment
  7. More recently Government has launched Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme: The mandate of the Programme is to provide at least100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. It is provided in the Act that, while providing employment, priority shall be given to women in such a way that, at least l/3rd of the beneficiaries shall be women, who have registered and requested for work under the Scheme.
The Goals of MGNREGA are,
  1. Social protection for the most vulnerable people living in rural India by providing employment opportunities.
  2. Livelihood security for the poor through creation of durable assets, improved water security, soil conservation and higher land productivity.
  3. Drought-proofing and flood management in rural India.
  4. Empowerment of the socially disadvantaged especially women. Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Schedules Tribes (STs), through the processes of a rights- based legislation
  5. Strengthening decentralised participatory planning through convergence of various antipoverty and livelihoods initiatives.
  6. Deepening democracy at the grass-roots by strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions
  7. Effecting greater transparency and accountability in governance

Thus, MGNREGA is a powerful instrument for ensuring inclusive growth in rural India through its impact on social protection, livelihood security and democratic empowerment.

Indira Awas Yojana (IAY)

Rural housing development has to be seen in the context of poverty alleviation and overall rural development Housing lays foundation for living with dignity for the rural poor by dispelling the gloom of being shelter-less. Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) is a centrally sponsored scheme for rural BPL families who are either houseless or having inadequate housing facilities for constructing a safe and durable shelter. IAY has the following components :

  1. Assistance for construction of a new house
  2. Upgradation of kutcha or dilapidated houses
  3. Provision of house sites

95% of the total budget would be utilized for the components relating to new houses, upgradation of
houses and provision of house sites and administrative expenses. The remaining 5% would be reserved
for special projects of-

  1. Rehabilitation of BPL families affected by natural calamities
  2. Rehabilitation of BPL families affected by violence and law and order problems
  3. Settlement of freed bonded labourers and liberated manual scavengers
  4. Settlement of particularly vulnerable tribal groups
  5. New technology demonstration – especially with focus on affordable and green technologies.
Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar yojana (SGSY)

The Union Ministry of Rural Development launched a restructured poverty alleviation programme, Swarjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) with effect from 1April 1999, which replaced IRDP and its allied schemes, viz..Training of Rural Youth for self Employment (TRYSEM), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Supply of improved Tool kits to Rural Artisans (SITRA), Ganga Kalyan Yojana (GKY) and Million Wells Scheme (MWS).

  1. The scheme aims at establishing a large number of micro enterprises in the rural areas of the country. The objective of the scheme is to bring every assisted BPL, family, above the poverty line in three years by providing them income generating assets through a mix of bank credit and government subsidy.
  2. SGSY is a holistic poverty alleviation scheme covering all aspects of self employment such as organisation of poor into self help groups, training, credit, technology, infrastructure and marketing. The scheme is funded on 75%25 basis by central and the respective State Governments and is implemented by DRD and through Panchayat Samitis. Major share of assistance is for 4-5 key activities identified at the block level………..SGSY has been restructured into National Rural Livelihood Mission.
National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM)

The Ministry of Rural Development has re-designed and re-structured the Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) into National Livelihood Mission (NRLM) as a cornerstone of national poverty reduction strategy.The objective of the Mission is to reduce poverty among rural BPL by promoting diversified and gainful self-employment and wage employment opportunities which would lead to an appreciable increase in income on sustainable basis. In the long run, it will ensure broad based inclusive growth and reduce disparities by spreading out the benefits from the islands of growth across the regions, sectors and communities. The core belief of National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) is that the poor have innate capabilities and a strong desire to come out of poverty.

They are entrepreneurial an essential coping mechanism to survive under conditions of poverty. The challenge is to unleash their capabilities to generate meaningful livelihoods and enable them to come out of poverty.The first step in this process is motivating them to form their own institutions. They and their institutions need to be provided sufficient capacities to access finance and to expand their skills and assets and convert them into meaningful livelihoods. This requires continuous handholding support An external dedicated sensitive support structure, from the national level to the sub-district level is required to induce such social mobilization, institution building and livelihoods promotion.

NRLM implementation is in a Mission Mode. This enables :
  1. Shift from the present allocation based strategy to a demand driven strategy, enabling the States to formulate their own livelihoods-based poverty reduction action plans,
  2. Focus on targets, outcomes and time bound delivery,
  3. Continuous capacity building, imparting requisite skills and creating linkages with livelihoods opportunities for the poor, including those emerging in the organized sector, and
  4. Monitoring against targets of poverty outcomes.

As NRLM follows a demand driven strategy, the States have the flexibility to develop their livelihoods-based perspective plans and annual action plans for poverty reduction. The second dimension of demand driven strategy implies that the ultimate objective is that the poor will drive the agenda, through participatory planning at grassroots level implementation of their own plans, reviewing and generating further plans based on their experiences. Mahila Kisan Shashaktikaran Yojna: As important component of NRLM.

Janashree Bima Yojana

The Janashree Bima Yojana (JBY) was launched in 10 August 2000. The Scheme has replaced Social Security Group Insurance Scheme (SSGIS) and Rural Group Life Insurance Scheme (RGLIS). 45 occupational groups have been covered under this scheme.

  1. The Scheme provides for a insurance cover of Rs. 30,000 on natural death. On death/total permanent disability due to accident, the benefit is Rs. 75,000/-. On partial permanent disability due to accident, the benefit is Rs. 37,500/-.
  2. The premium for the scheme is Rs. 200/- per member per annum, 50 per cent of which is met out of Social Security Fund The balance premium is to be borne by the member and / or Nodal Agency.
Aam admi Bima yojana

Aam admi Bima yojana, a new Social Security Scheme for rural landless households was launched on 2nd October, 2007 by the then Union Finance Minister at Shimla. The head of the family or one earning member in the family of rural landless household is covered under the Scheme.

  1. The premium ofRs. 200/- per person per annum is shared equally by the Central Government and the State Government Head of the family or one earning member of the family aged between 18 and 59 years is covered for an amount of Rs. 30,000/- under the Scheme.
  2. In case of death or total disability (including loss of 2 eyes / 2 limbs) due to accident, a sum ofRs. 75,000/ and in case of partial permanent disability (loss 1eye / 1limb) due to accident, a sum ofRs. 37,500/- is payable to the nominee/beneficiary.
  3. A free add-on benefit for the children of the member of AAM ADMI BIMA YOJANA is provided under the Scheme in the form of a scholarship at the rate of Rs. 100/ -per month and is given to maximum two children studying between IX to XII Standard payable half yearly on 1st July and 1st January each year. During the financial year 2009-2010, scholarships were disbursed to 86,906 children amounting to Rs. 54.48 Crores.
National agricultural insurance scheme (NAIS)

NAIS was implemented from Rabi 1999-2000 season replacing Comprehensive Camp Insurance Scheme (CCIS). The Scheme is being implemented by the Agriculture Insurance Company of India Ltd on behalf of Ministry of Agriculture.

  1. The main objective of the Scheme is to protect the farmers against the losses suffered by them due to crop failure on account of natural calamities, such as drought, food hailstorm, cyclone, fire, pest/ diseases, etc, so as to restore their credit worthiness for the ensuring seasons.
  2. The Scheme is available to all the farmers both loanee and non loanee irrespective of the size of their holding. The Scheme envisages coverage of all crops including cereals, millets, pulses, oilseeds and annual commercial and horticulture crops in respect of which past yield data of 10 years, is available.
  3. At present; 70 different Food and Oilseed crops are covered during Kharif and Rabi seasons. Sugarcane, Potato, Ginger, Onion, Turmeric, Chilly Jute, Tapioca, Banana, Pineapple, Brinjal Coriander Cumin, Fennel French Bean, Garlic, Isabgol Fenugreek and Tomato have been brought under insurance coverage among the annual commercial/horticultural crops.
  4. As per the provisions of National Agriculture Insurance Scheme, the flat premium rates are 3.5 per cent for Bajra and Oilseeds, 2.5 per cent for other Kharif crops;1.5 per cent for Wheat, and 2 per cent for other Rabi crops. In case actuarial rates are less than prescribed flat premium rates, the lower rate is applicable for food crops and oilseeds.
  5. In case of annual commercial and horticulture crops, actuarial rates are charged. At present, 10 per cent subsidy in premium is allowed for small and marginal farmers, shared equally by Central and State government.However, some State and Union Territory governments are also providing higher subsidy to small and marginal farmers and subsidy to other farmers.
  6. The Scheme operates on the basis of Area Approach’ for widespread calamities. The unit of insurance may be Gram Pnachayat, Mandal Hobli, Circle, Phirka, Block, Taluka etc., to be decided by the respective State / UT Government.
  7. At present, 25 States and 2 Union Territories are implementing the Scheme. Some of the states have notified lower unit of insurance for village.
National Food Security Mission (NFSM)

The National Development Council (NDC)in its 53rd meeting held on 29th May, 2007 adopted a resolution to launch a Food Security Mission comprising rice, wheat and pulses to increase the production of rice by 10 million tons, wheat by 8 million tons and pulses by 2 million tons by the end of the Eleventh Plan (2011-12). Accordingly, A Centrally Sponsored Scheme, ‘National Food Security Mission’, has been launched from 2007-08 to operationalize the above mentioned resolution. The National Food Security Mission has 3 components (i) Rice (ii) Wheat & (iii) Pulses.

The NFSM objectives are increasing production of rice, wheat and pulses through area expansion and productivity enhancement in a sustainable manner in the identified districts of the country, restoring soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level creation of employment opportunities, and enhancing farm level economy (i.e. farm profits) to restore confidence amongst the farmers. Under NFSM, financial support will be available for research in the following areas :

  1. Conservation of natural resources (land, water) and their efficient use.
  2. Integrated nutrient management
  3. Integrated disease and pest management
  4. Integrated weed management
  5. Modification/refinements of farm machines/implements for different types of soil/cropping systems.
  6. Up scaling of improved crop varieties/hybrids in NFSM adopted states/ agroclimatic zones under water/ thermal stress conditions.
  7. Nutrient management in acidic/ alkaline/ sodic soils.
  8. Crop-husbandry.
  9. Input use efficiency.
  10. Rain-water harvesting management in kharif pulses.
  11. Refinement of relay cropping systems.
  12. Agronomic practices for intercropping systems involving pulses.
  13. Quality seed storage studies in the humid and hot climatic conditions Coastal areas.
  14. Value addition in case of coarse cereals and pulses.
  15. Precision farming-nutrient manager and crop manager
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)

The RKVY had aimed at achieving 4% annual growth in the agriculture sector during the XI Plan period and is continuing in the 12th Plan, by ensuring a holistic development of Agriculture and allied sectors. The main objectives of the scheme are :

  1. To incentivise the states so as to increase public investment in Agriculture and allied sectors.
  2. To provide flexibility and autonomy to states in the process of planning and executing Agriculture and allied sector schemes.
  3. To ensure the preparation of agriculture plans for the districts and the states based on agro-climatic conditions, availability of technology and natural resources.
  4. To ensure that the local needs/crops/priorities are better reflected in the agricultural plans of the states.
  5. To achieve the goal of reducing the yield gaps in important crops, through focused interventions.
  6. To maximize returns to the farmers in agriculture and allied sectors.
  7. To bring about quantifiable changes in the production and productivity of various components of Agriculture and allied sectors by addressing them in a holistic manner.

Programmes In Urban Areas :

Further, in case of urban poverty we find a gradual change in the perception of the planners. Urban poverty was not seen as a distinct problem in the early Five-Year Plan. It was treated only as off-shoot of rural poverty. But this problem has been addressed directly with the Seventh Five Year Plan. This plan envisaged a multi pronged strategy to resolve the problem.

  1. It aimed at a providing gainful employment to the unemployed, particularly women and youth,
  2. Raising the earnings of those already employed in low paid jobs;
  3. Increasing the productivity and earnings of those who are self-employed workers, and
  4. Improving the access of the urban poor to basic amenities like education, health-care, sanitation and safe drinking water.
Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)
  1. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was launched on 3rd December 2005 with the objective of reforms driven and fast track development of cities across the country, with focus on bringing about efficiency in urban infrastructure; service delivery mechanisms, community participation and accountability of Urban Local Bodies and Parastatal agencies towards citizens.
  2. The duration of the Mission seeks to ensure sustainable development of select cities. The subcomponent of Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) for identified 65 major cities and the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for small and medium towns (UIDSSMT) for all other cities and towns are implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development
  3. The main thrust of both UIG and UIDSSMT are support for urban infrastructure projects relating to water supply including sanitation, sewerage, solid waste management, etc.
Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG)
  1. As per 2011 population census, 285.35 million people reside in Urban areas. It constitutes 31% of the total population of the country. In post-independence era, while population of India has grown three times, the urban population has grown five times. The rising urban population has also given rise to increase in the number of urban poor.
  2. As per 2001estimates, the slum population is estimated to be 61.8 million. The ever increasing number of slum dwellers causes tremendous pressure on urban basic services and infrastructure. In order to cope with massive problems that have emerged as a result of rapid urban growth, it has become imperative to draw up a coherent urbanization policy/strategy to implement projects in select cities on mission mode.
  3. In order to provide reforms linked Central assistance for development of infrastructure, Mission Mode approach was adopted for implementation of urban infrastructure improvement programme in a time bound manner in selected cities as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). It has been launched on 3rd Dec. 2005. It follows two track strategies :

Track 1 consists of the main Mission (JNNURM) for integrated development in 65 identified cities. Track II consists of UIDSSMT and IHSDP for catering to other cities.

The 65 identified cities under Track I of the Mission have been classified in three categories.

  1. Mega Cities/Urban Agglomerates 7
  2. Million plus cities/ Urban Agglomerates 28
  3. Identified cities/Urban Agglomerates 30
Mission Objectives :
  1. Focus attention on integrated development of infrastructural services in the cities covered under the Mission.
  2. Secure effective linkages between asset creation and asset management so that the infrastructural services created in the cities are not only maintained efficiently but also become self-sustaining over time.
  3. Ensure adequate investment of funds to fulfill deficiencies in the urban infrastructural services.
  4. Scale up delivery of civic amenities and provision of utilities with emphasis on universal access to the Urban poor.
  5. Take up Urban renewal programme, i.e. redevelopment or inner (old) cities areas to reduce congestion.
Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY)

The SJSRY Scheme is in operation since Dec. 1997 in all urban and semi-urban towns of India. The programme is applicable to all the cities and towns on a whole town basis. The target population under SJSRY is the urban poor, those living below the poverty lines as defined by the Planning Commission from time to time.

  1. Under the scheme, women are to be assisted to the extent of not less than 30 per cent Differently abled at 3 per cent and SC/STs at least to the extent of the proportion of their strength in the local population. The scheme is funded on a 75:25 basis by the Central and the respective State Government :
  2. The scheme has five components as under :
    • Urban Self Employment Programme (USEP)
    • Urban Women Self-help Programme (UWSP)
    • Skill Training for Employment promotion amongst Urban Poor (STEP-UP)
    • Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP)
    • Urban Community Development Network (UCDN)
      • …………………………………………………SJSRY has been Restructured in NULM.
National Urban livelihood Mission (NULM)

The National Urban livelihood Mission (NULM) implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation aims to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor households by enabling them to access gainful self employment and skilled wage employment opportunities, resulting in an appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis, through building strong grassroots level institutions of the poor.

The mission would aim at providing shelters equipped with essential services to the urban homeless in a phased manner. In addition, the mission would also address livelihood concerns of the urban street vendors by facilitating access to suitable spaces, institutional credit, social security and skills to the urban street vendors for accessing emerging market opportunities.

The strategy followed in NULM includes,
  1. Building capacity of the urban poor, their institutions and the machinery involved in the implementation of livelihoods development and poverty alleviation programmes through handholding support
  2. Enhancing and expanding existing livelihoods options of the urban poor;
  3. Building skills to enable access to growing market-based job opportunities offered by emerging urban economies;
  4. Training for and support to the establishment of micro-enterprises by the urban poor – self and group;
  5. Ensure availability and access for the urban homeless population to permanent 24-hour shelters including the basic infrastructural facilities like water supply, sanitation, safety and security;
  6. Cater to the needs of especially vulnerable segments of the urban homeless like the dependent children, aged disabled mentally and recovering patients etc., by creating special sections within homeless shelters and provisioning special service linkages for them;
  7. To establish strong rights-based linkages with other programmes which cover the right of the urban homeless to food, healthcare, education, etc. and ensure access for homeless populations to various entitlements, including to social security pensions, PDS, ICDS, feeding programmes, drinking water, sanitation, identity, financial inclusion, school admission etc., and to affordable housing;
  8. To address livelihood concerns of the urban street vendors by facilitating access to suitable spaces, institutional credit, social security and skills to the urban street vendors for accessing emerging market opportunities.
Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) :

The Rajiv Awas Yojana envisages a “Slum Free India” with inclusive and equitable cities in which every
citizen has access to basic civic infrastructure, social amenities and decent shelter.

The objectives of the programme are,
  1. Improving and provisioning of housing, basic civic infrastructure and social amenities in intervened slums.
  2. Enabling reforms to address some of the causes leading to creation of slums.
  3. Facilitating a supportive environment for expanding institutional credit linkages for the urban poor.
  4. Institutionalizing mechanisms for prevention of slums including creation of affordable housing stock.
  5. Strengthening institutional and human resource capacities at the Municipal, City and State levels through comprehensive capacity building and strengthening of resource networks.
  6. Empowering community by ensuring their participation at every stage of decision making through strengthening and nurturing Slum Dwellers’ Association/Federation.

Thirteenth Central Finance Commission Recommendations

Recognizing the paramount importance of boosting the finances of Urban Local Bodies(ULBs) and to bridge the gap between requirement of funds by the ULBs and available financial resources, the Ministry of Urban Development impressed upon the13th CFC Commission to play the role or a path breaker in creating an enabling environment for fiscal decentralization at the sub-state level replace the system of adhoc grants with regular transfers and compensate the third tier on the basis of a realistic assessment of the costs involved The 10th, 11th and 12th Central Finance Commissions had recommended ad hoc grants of Rupees 1000, 2000 and 5000 Crores respectively.

  1. Taking congnizance of the situation, the 13th Central Finance Commission has emphasized the need to bolster the finances of local bodies and suggested that local bodies need to be supported through a predictable and buoyant source of revenue substantially higher than the present levels in addition to their own tax revenues and other flows from State and Central Governments.
  2. The various recommendations made by the13th Central Finance Commission seek to provide quantum leap in the grants to the local bodies based on certain conditions which would ensure the adoption of best practices by local bodies and bringing of the much needed reforms to these institutions.
  3. The 13th Central Finance Commission has recommended total Grants-in-aid of Rupees 23473 crores for period 2010-15 for ULBs which comes to Rupees 4694.51crores per annum.
  4. Further,; with the objective of encouraging reforms and fast track planned development of cities with focus on efficiency of urban infrastructure and service delivery mechanisms as well as community participation, accountability of ULBs/Parastatyal agencies towards citizens etc. and also as a means to enhance transparency, the13th CFC has recommended ‘performance based grants’.
  5. The performance based grants can be availed by adoption of various reforms like accounting standards prescribed in the National Municipal Account Manual (NMAM) by their local bodies, strengthen their local funds audit departments through capacity building, incentivize revenue collection by local bodies, set up ombudsman and property tax boards etc.The Ministry is undertaking initiatives to assist the States in this regard to enable them to avail ‘Performance Based Grants’.
The various programmes meant for removing urban poverty are grouped under three categories:
  1. Shelter and services: Shelter and services related programmes include provision of housing, environmental improvement of slums, programmes concerned with the welfare of children, women and youth.
  2. Employment: employment related programmes concern with helping the urban poor in self employment through providing credit and loans on concessional rates and up- gradation of their skills.
  3. Public distribution and nutrition: The urban poor get benefit from the Public Distribution System which supplies certain essential goods like cereals, edible oils, kerosene oil etc at retail prices.The general programmes of mid-day meal, special nutrition programme and integrated child development services are also expected to help urban poor.

However, we must note that most of these programmes expected to benefit the urban poor are general in nature. There exist only a few programmes specifically meant for the urban poor most of which are in the shelter sector. Further, most of these programmes are at their experimental stage. They do not cover even a small fraction of the urban poor. Many programs are floundering and some are already showing signs of malfunctions.

On the whole the measure undertaken to deal with the problem of poverty in rural and urban areas seems to be inadequate. No amount of efforts seems adequate.

The Challenges Ahead :
  1. Poverty has certainly declined in India. But despite the progress, poverty reduction remains India’s most compelling challenge. Wide disparities in poverty are visible between rural and urban areas and among different states. Certain social and economic groups are more vulnerable to poverty. Poverty reduction is expected to make better progress in the next ten to fifteen years.
  2. Poverty reduction would be possible mainly due to higher economic growth, increasing stress on universal free elementary education, declining population growth, increasing empowerment of the women and the economically weaker sections of society. The official definition of poverty, however, captures only a limited part of what poverty really means to people. It 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 do they have education? Or shelter? Or health care? Or job security? Or self confidence? Are they free from caste and gender discrimination? Is the practice of child labour still common?


Worldwide experience shows that with development the definition of what constitutes poverty also changes. Eradication of poverty is always a moving target Hopefully we will be able to provide the minimum necessary in terms of only income to all people by the end of the next decade. But the target will move on for many of the bigger challenges that still remain: providing health care, education and job security for all and achieving gender equality and dignity for the poor. These will be even bigger tasks. We have travelled about six decades since independence. The objective of all our policies had been stated as promoting rapid and balanced economic development with equality and social justice. Poverty alleviation has always been accepted as one of India’s main challenges by the policy makers, regardless of which government was in power. The absolute number of poor in the country has gone down and some states have less proportion of poor than even the national average. Yet, critics point out that even though vast resources have been allocated and spent, we are still far from reaching the goal.

Poverty Analyzed

Having noted the root causes of poverty, we can say that the real constraints to growth with equity are located primarily in the institutional or in the politico-economic sphere. In an underdeveloped country like India where great mass of the people live in abject poverty, a social welfare solution is not suitable. Eradication of the problem of massive poverty is not possible within the four-walls of the prevailing social political and economic order. In fact, this gigantic problem cannot be resolved without a fundamental transformation of society itself which would involve redistribution of wealth and equitable sharing of the growing prosperity and changes in the power structure in favour of the poor.

  1. Adoption of an essentially capitalist path of development has accentuated the problem of poverty and the chasm between the rich and the poor. This trend has to be reversed in favour of a truly socialist path of development
  2. The country would have to give first priority to ending the system which has generated inequality and mass poverty. In fact, we have to wage struggle against socio-economic and political inequalities in order to alleviate the problem of poverty.
  3. Land should go to the tiller.
  4. The pubic sector should be expanded rapidly and progressively to encompass the whole economy with increasing participation of workers in management
  5. Labour intensive programmes of development such as housing, irrigation and communication should be given emphasis to remove the problem of unemployment and underemployment Wages of workers also have to be raised to improve their living conditions.
  6. Equal access to essential social services like education and health should be provided
  7. Moreover, we have to put an end to the raising consumerist culture which has a very damaging impact on the society as a whole. Both the rural and urban poor have to organize themselves and fight for effecting such structural changes in society.

Social Inequality

In every society some people have a greater share of valued resources- money, property, education, health and power – than others. According to Bourdieu, these social resources can be divided into three forms of capital

  1. Economic capital in the form the material assets and income,
  2. Cultural capital such as educational qualifications and status, and
  3. Social capital in the form of networks of contacts and social associations.

Often, these three forms of capital overlap and one can be converted into the other.

Some social inequality reflects innate differences between individuals for example, their varying abilities and efforts.Someone maybe endowed with exceptional intelligencies or talent, or may have worked very hard to achieve their wealth and status. However, by and large, social inequality is not the outcome of innate or ‘natural’ differences between people, but is produced by the society in which they live.

  1. Social inequality is a characteristic of society, not simply a function of individual differences.Social inequality is a society wide system that unequally distributes social resources among categories of people. In the most technologically primitive societies – hunting and gathering societies, for instance – little was produced so only rudimentary social inequality. In more technologically advanced societies where people produce a surplus over and above their basic needs, however, social resources are unequally distributed to various social categories regardless of people’s innate individual abilities.
  2. Social inequality is closely linked to the family and to the inheritance and social resources from one generation to the next A person’s status is ascribed That is, children assume the social positions of their parents. Within the caste system, birth dictates occupational opportunities.A Dalit is likely to be confined to traditional occupations such as agricultural labour, scavenging, or leather work, with little chance of being able to get high-paying white collar or professional work. The ascribed aspect of social inequality is reinforced by the practice of endogamy. That is, marriage is usually restricted to members of the same caste, ruling out the potential for blurring caste lines through inter-caste marriage.
  3. Social inequality is supported by patterns of belief, or ideology. The caste system, for example, is justified in terms of the opposition of purity and pollution, with the Brahmins designated as the most superior and Dalits as the most inferior by virtue of their birth and occupation. Not everyone, though, thinks of a system of inequality as legitimate.Typically, people with the greatest social privileges express the strongest support for systems of inequality such as caste and race. Those who have experienced the exploitation and humiliation of being at the bottom of the hierarchy are most likely to challenge it.
Side Effects of Social Inequality : Exclusion and Discrimination, Prejudices, Stereotype

Often we discuss social exclusion and discrimination as though they pertain to differential economic
resources alone. This however is only partially true. People often face discrimination and exclusion because of their gender, religion, ethnicity, language, caste and disability. Thus women from a privileged background may face sexual harassment in public places. A middle class professional from a minority religious or ethnic group may find it difficult to get accommodation in a middle class colony even in a metropolitan city. People often harbour prejudices about other social groups. Each of us grows up as a member of a community from which we acquire ideas not just about our ‘community’, our ‘caste’ or ‘class’, our ‘gender’ but also about others. Often these ideas reflect prejudices.

Prejudices refer to pre-conceived opinions or attitudes held by members of one group towards another. The word literally means ‘pre-judgment’, that is, an opinion formed in advance of any familiarity with the subject, before considering any available evidence. A prejudiced person’s pre-conceived views are often based an hearsay rather than on direct evidence, and are resistant to change even in the face of new information. Although the word is generally used for negative pre-judgements, it can also apply to favourable pre-judgments. For example, a person may be prejudiced in favour of members of his/her own caste or group and without any evidence believe them to be superior to members of other castes or groups.

Stereotype : Prejudices are often grouped in stereotypes, fixed and inflexible characterizations of a group of people. Stereotypes are often applied to ethnic and racial groups and to women. In a country such as India, which was colonized for a longtime, many of these stereotypes are partly colonial creations.Some communities were characterized as ‘martial races’, some others as ‘effeminate or cowardly’, yet others as ‘untrustworthy’. In both English and Indian fictional writings we often encounter an entire group of people classified as ‘lazy’ or ‘cunning, it may indeed be true that some individuals are some times lazy or cunning, brave or cowardly. But such a general statement is true of individuals in every group. Even for such individual it is not true all the time – the same individual may be both lazy and hardworking at different times. Stereotypes fix whole groups into single, homogenous categories; they refuse to recognize the variation across individuals and across contexts or across time. They treat an entire community as though it were a single person with a single all encompassing trait or characteristics.

Discrimination :

If prejudice describes attitudes and opinions, discrimination refers to actual behaviour towards another group or individual. Discrimination can be seen in practices that disqualify members of one group from opportunities open to others, as when a person is refused a job because of their gender or religion. Discrimination can be very hard to prove because it may not be open or explicitly stated Discriminatory behaviour or practices may be presented as motivated by other, more justifiable, reasons rather than prejudice. For example, the person who is refused a job because of their caste, may be told that they were less qualified than others, and that the selection was done purely on merit.

Social exclusion :

  1. It refers to ways in which individuals may become cut off from full involvement in the wider society. It focuses attention on a broad range of factors that prevent individuals or groups from having opportunities open to the majority of the population. In order to live a full and active life, individuals must not only be able to feed, clothe and house themselves, but should also have access to essential goods and services such as education, health, transportation, insurance, social security, banking and even access to the police or judiciary. Social exclusion is not accidental but systematic. It is the result of structural features of society-social inequality.
  2. It is important to note that social exclusion is involuntary, that is, exclusion is practiced regardless of the wishes of those who are excluded For example, rich people are never found sleeping on the pavements or under bridges like thousand of homeless poor people in cities and towns. This does not mean that the rich are being excluded from access to pavements and park benches, because they could certainly gain access if they wanted to, but they choose not to. Social exclusion is sometimes wrongly justified by the same logic – it is said that the excluded group itself does not wish to participate.The truth of such an argument is not obvious when exclusion is preventing access to something desirable (as different from something clearly undesirable, like sleeping on the pavement).
  3. Prolonged experience of discriminatory or insulting behaviour often produces a reaction on the part of the excluded who then stop trying for inclusion. For e.g. example, ‘upper’ caste Hindu communities have often denied entry into temples for the ‘lower’ castes and specially the Dalits. After decades of such treatment the Dalits may build their own temple, or convert to another religion like Buddhism, Christianity or Islam. After they do this, they may no longer desire to be included in the Hindu temple or religious events. But this does not mean that social exclusion is not being practiced The point is that the exclusion occurs regardless of the wishes of the excluded
  4. India like most societies has been marked by acute practices of social discrimination and exclusion. At different periods of history protest movements arose against caste, gender and religious discrimination. Yet prejudices remain and often new ones emerge. Thus legislation alone is unable to transform society or produce lasting social change. A constant social campaign to, awareness and sensitivity is required to break them.

Deprivation :

Deprivation is the result of prolonged social inequality and poverty. Deprivation means ‘felt loss’. It refers to certain deficiencies or deficits in the individual’s environment which are felt and experienced by individual or groups to such an extent that it hampers the individuals effective functioning.

  1. Relative deprivation : It is a subjective concept It implies that an individual or a group perceives themselves relatively deprived in relation to other individual Poverty is seen in terms of relative to a class or section of population against privileged ones. Poverty is perceived in terms of exclusion of a class or section of population from average living patterns, activities, and participation in social life, because of lack of resources, i.e., education or political power.
  2. Absolute deprivation : It is an objective construct As a result of disadvantage in society if an individual or a group is bereft of basic necessities for healthy living- food housing, health facilities, education etc.- the resultant deprivation is absolute deprivation.
Consequences of Deprivation
  1. Social : Poverty, development of slum in cities, culture of poverty, low social mobility, social inequality, discrimination, exclusion, etc.
  2. Cultural : Low level of education, illiteracy, cultural lag, Crime and delinquency, etc.
  3. Economic : Poverty, unemployment, etc.
  4. Physical : Malnutrition, diseases, hunger- death etc.

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Khushbu Thakur

I have found that your notes are just written to attack Hindu culture only.
I don’t mean that there is no evil in Hindu society, but Civil service is 360 degree analysis, do you have any idea how Shia Sunni treat one another( about 18 crore Sunni and 2 crore Shias live in India), no statement on why Muslim women not allowed in mosque( gender based exclusion) why Dalit Christians are not allowed in some churches in India?are Brahmins stopping then?

Hindu society has inherent feature of evolving, Sati was banned from the efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy ( an upper caste Hindu) before Ambedkar learnt how to read and write.