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Current Environment of Poverty and Its Implications on the Growth of India

The Indian economy has been on the move upward since 1951. Different sectors of the Indian economy such as agriculture, industry, trade, and banking. insurance, transport, communication, etc., have made modest to good progress. The Indian economy has made significant headway in moving from underdevelopment to development, from poverty to prosperity. Notwithstanding these changes, the Indian economy still exhibits certain features, which characterize an underdeveloped economy.

One such feature is a low level of income. The per capita income of India is one of the lowest in the world. Low per capita income indicates a low standard of living for the people and the existence of poverty in the country.

Poverty Problem

As long as people have been, poverty has existed. Human lives have been diminished by poverty for ages. But its significant decrease is one of the 20th century's greatest accomplishments. Acute poverty still exists in many nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America despite significant reductions in poverty in many other regions of the world. In these emerging nations, one-third of the populace still lives in extreme poverty.

Although there are still certain areas of poverty in America and Europe's wealthier nations, the Third World countries are mostly affected by the issue of widespread poverty. Poverty is a significant issue for the Indian economy.

In India, poverty is seen as the main obstacle to development planning. Growth in the economy is useless if a substantial portion of the population continues to live in poverty. High levels of poverty are correlated with poor living conditions, lack of resources, hunger, illiteracy, and inadequate human resource development. All political parties have, in one way or another embraced the phrase "end poverty." The Indian economy is still plagued by the issue of poverty despite several programs and strategies being implemented to eradicate it.

Concept Of Poverty

When a person doesn't make enough money to afford the necessities of life, that person is said to be living in poverty. The bare minimum physical amounts of grains, pulses, milk, butter, and other food items are what are considered the means of subsistence since they offer the bare minimum nutritional level.

Causes Of Poverty In The Present World

It is crucial to examine the root causes of poverty in India given the size and severity of the country's poverty issues. There are many different reasons for poverty, ranging from economic and socio-cultural issues to political and administrative ones.
  1. Rapid Population Growth among the Poor- A high rate of population growth in India, particularly among the poor, is responsible for the problem of poverty in India. Population growth among the poor is high because of their illiteracy, traditional attitudes, lack of family planning, preference for the male child, etc.
  2. High Level of Unemployment- An important factor accounting for the incidence of high poverty, particularly in rural areas, is the high level of unemployment and underemployment. The number of job seekers is increasing at a higher rate than an increase in the employment opportunities, increasing employment.
  3. Inequality of Income- A dominant cause of poverty in India is the existence of large inequalities in income, both in the rural areas and urban areas of the economy. This is particularly because a larger proportion of increased income during the plans has been cornered by the rich persons.
  4. Low Education Level- The poor's low level of education is another significant factor contributing to poverty. Poor individuals can only work in low-paying occupations because they are illiterate or only partially educated. This explains why the impoverished have low-income levels. Additionally, impoverished parents are unable to afford to send their kids to college. As a result, lower earnings continue to exist throughout time.
  5. Political Factors- The political system of the nation is another element contributing to the persistence of poverty. In both urban and rural regions, the highest echelons of society hold the majority of the political power. Even at the level of rural panchayats, upper-caste groups dominate. Economic policies are created to further the interests of the more affluent members of society, including manufacturers, dealers, landowners, and wealthy farmers. The victims of this process are the poor, especially the impoverished peasants, landless laborers, tribal people, slum dwellers, etc.

Measures To Eradicate Poverty

  1. Agricultural Development - In India, a sizable section of the population is still reliant on the agricultural industry. Special efforts should be made to enhance agriculture to eradicate poverty. Therefore, the government should prioritize the growth of agriculture to eradicate widespread poverty in rural regions.
  2. Population Control - One of the significant causes of poverty is the high rate of population increase among the poor. As a result, despite the poor's increasing income, their per capita income and level of consumption have not grown significantly. Despite a significant increase in GDP, per capita income in India is still low. More family members are contributing to the family's increased revenue. Population management is therefore crucial if poverty is to be eradicated. The population growth rate will be slowed down as a result, of increasing per capita income.
  3. Development of Cottage and Small-Scale Industries - The industrialization initiative has given small-scale companies a prominent position. These sectors have contributed significantly to the creation of jobs and a more equal distribution of wealth. To encourage the growth and development of these industries, the government has offered the necessary incentives and support, such as loans, the distribution of raw materials, marketing help, technical assistance, infrastructural facilities, etc.
  4. Spread of Education - Spreading education is another way to enhance the health, mind, and soul of people. Therefore, it is critical to give everyone access to educational resources. The needy should receive special benefits like stipends, free books, contingency funds, etc. The impoverished will become more awakened and have their mental faculties improved through education.
  5. Providing more employment opportunities - By increasing work possibilities, we can help individuals satisfy their fundamental requirements and end poverty. For this aim, labor-intensive rather than capital-intensive procedures can contribute to a higher degree to the resolution of the issue. He and his family may be able to survive if the destitute are given even the most basic work opportunities.

Current Scenario In India

Despite this incredible achievement over the past 20 years, India still faces several obstacles in the fight against poverty. The highest number of impoverished people in a single nation anywhere in the world—229 million Indians—still live in poverty. Additionally, the poverty gap between urban and rural areas in India is still relatively wide; just 5.5% of urban inhabitants are poor, compared to 21.2% of people living in rural areas. To put that in context, rural regions are home to 205 million of India's 229 million poor residents.

Poverty Alleviation Programs By The Government

  1. Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojna (JGSY) - JGSY was introduced in April 1999 by restructuring the JRY. It has two main objectives.
    1. The main goal is to build infrastructure and long-lasting, productive communal resources at the village level.
    2. The secondary goal is to provide wage jobs for the jobless poor in rural regions.
  2. Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna (SGSY) - It was introduced on April 1st, 1999, with the reorganization and fusion of several former programs including IRDP, TRYSEM, and other related programs. SGSY places a strong emphasis on a targeted strategy for reducing poverty. There is just one self-employment program available to rural impoverished people. SGSY wants to support businesses at the primary village level. It helps underprivileged rural households start businesses that provide revenue. It aids them by putting rural residents into self-help groups (SHGs). The initiative addresses all facets of self-employment, including the formation of SHGs for the rural poor, training, infrastructure development, financial support, marketing aid, etc.
  3. Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojna (PMGY) - The PMGY program was unveiled in the 2000–2001 budget. Its goal is to concentrate on village-level development in five crucial areas: housing, rural roads, drinking water, and health.
  4. Food for Work Programme (FWP) - In February 2001, this initiative was introduced. In the 150 most underdeveloped districts of the nation, it attempts to increase food security by creating wage jobs in the rural areas hit by the drought. With this plan, salaries are paid in a combination of cash and food grains. State governments put the plan into action. The centre assists the state governments by giving drought-affected states adequate amounts of free food grains.
  5. Krishi Shramik Suraksha Yojana (KSSY) - This scheme was launched in July 2001. It aims at providing social security benefits to agricultural labourers in the age group of 18 to 60 years.
  6. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) - This government initiative's main goal is to provide rural people with a stable source of income. To combat rural poverty and unemployment by hiring rural residents is one of the most ambitious pro-poor programs in the world. The NREGA was launched in February 2006 in the 200 most underdeveloped regions of the nation following the passage of the (NREGA) Act in 2005, which promised at least 100 days of unskilled wage work each year. The NREGA was renamed "MGNREGA on 2 October 2009. The MGNREGA has also contributed to greater agricultural salaries, which benefits all hired workers. It has also emancipated men and women (who labor in huge numbers), improved the economy, and decreased migration from rural regions. Through the building of rural roads, initiatives for soil conservation, flood control, and land rehabilitation, MGNREGA has aided in rural development.
  7. National Urban Livelihood Mission: Ajeevika (2011) - It intensifies the need to meet the diverse requirements of the rural poor and give them access to occupations that pay a consistent monthly salary. To assist the destitute, self-help groups are organized at the village level.

Implications Of The Poverty

  1. Slow and steady economic growth - Due to the high level of poverty in the country the growth of the nation is not up to the level it should be as the contribution of each individual is necessary for a constant and steady growth rate. For a proper and systematic growth rate, every citizen needs to contribute in an equal manner.
  2. Utilizing drugs and crime to satiate basic requirements - Poor people will often engage in socially inappropriate behaviors including drug addiction, crime, repression, violence, and terrorism to satiate their appetite. These forces weaken social norms, moral principles, and human self-worth, and as a result, more and more members of the community exhibit intolerance and disrespectful behavior toward one another regularly.
  3. Increase in the number of child marriages - Even though it is illegal, certain Indian groups continue to practice child marriage. Children are born when their mothers are still in their early years. Many people pass away before they reach maturity. Due to their own poverty, many parents encourage their kids to get married young in the hopes that they would have better lives.
  4. Poor purchasing power - When a nation's per capita income and purchasing power fall below a certain minimal threshold, there are issues such as a lack of healthcare infrastructure, poor productivity, and illiteracy. This caused illnesses and epidemics throughout society.
  5. Malnutrition - Malnutrition is a condition in which basically children or infants are unable to get the physical quantity of food at a young age for their proper development and growth. This condition is pretty rare in a country which is having a high poverty level as they are unable to meet even the basic quantity of food. More than 200 million people in India, including 61 million children, suffer from malnutrition, making it the nation with the highest rate in the world.
  6. Child Labour - Even though it is unlawful for anybody under the age of 14 to work, government records show that 12.5 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are employed in India. Furthermore, 65 million youngsters between the ages of 6 and 14 do not attend school and do labor activities in private residences, corporations, quarries, farms, and even prostitution.

Because these groups cannot participate in the global economy, government involvement is necessary to ensure that they are not excluded from the advantages and left behind in the growth process. For these groups, the government must create safety nets and work to mainstream them into the development process.

To guarantee that they survive, if not thrive, in this period of economic transition, they require social assistance in the form of poverty alleviation programs. Furthermore, the poor are not a uniform population, and the ability of different disadvantaged groups to endure economic transformation varies. Particularly those who are poorest among the poor or live below the poverty line require extra assistance from the government.

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