Poverty in India
Introduction: Poverty refers to a situation when people are deprived of basic necessities of life. It is often characterized by inadequacy of food, shelter and clothes. In other words, poverty refers to a state of privation where there is a lack of essential needs for subsistence.
India is one of the poorest countries in the world. Many Indian people do not get two meals a day. They do not have good houses to live in. Their children do not get proper schooling.
Poor people are the depressed and deprived class. They do not get proper nutrition and diet. Their conditions have not sufficiently improved even long after over 65 years of our Independence.
Poverty in urban India: Just like most of the growing and developing countries, there has been continuous increase in Urban population.
- Poor people migrate from rural areas to cities and towns in search of employment/financial activity.
- The income of more than 8 crore urban people is estimated to fall below poverty line (BPL).
- In addition to this, there are around 4.5 crore urban people whose income level is on borderline of poverty level.
- A income of urban poors is highly unstable. A large number of them are either casual workers or self-employed.
- Banks and Financial institutions are reluctant to provide them loan because of the unstable income.
- Five states that constitutes around 40% of all urban poor people of India are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh.
- Around 35% of the total population of the four metro cities (Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai) consists of slum population.
- A large portion of people living in slums are illiterate.
- The initiatives taken to deal with the problem of urban poverty has not yielded the desired results.
Poverty in rural India: It is said that rural India is the heart of India. In reality, the life of people living in rural areas is marked with severe poverty. Inspite of all the efforts, the condition of poor villagers is far from satisfactory. The report on Socio-economic and Caste Census (2011) reveal the following facts:
- SCST: Of all the rural households, around 18.46 percent belongs to scheduled castes, and around 10.97 belongs to scheduled Tribes.
- Major source of income: Manual causal labour jobs and cultivation are the major sources of income for rural people. Nearly 51 percent of all households are economically engaged in manual casual labour and nearly 30 percent of them is engaged in cultivation.
- Deprived: Around 48.5 percent of rural households are deprived according to the census.
- Assets: Only 11.04 percent of families own a refrigerator while there is a vehicle (including two-wheeler, boat, etc. )in around 29.69 percent of the rural houses.
- Income Tax: Only 4.58 percent of rural households pay income tax.
- Land ownership: Around 56 percent of village households doesn’t own a land.
- Size of rural houses: The houses of around 54 percent rural families consists of either one or two-rooms. Out of them, around 13 percent lives in a one-room house.
Causes of poverty
The growing population inflates the problem of poor techniques used in Agriculture. Further, there is unequal distribution of wealth. As a result, the poor people are often exploited by the wealthy community. The most important causes of Poverty in India are poor agriculture, growing Population, gap between rich and poor, corruption and black money.
Poor agriculture: India is mainly an agricultural country. About 80% people of our country depend on agriculture. But our agriculture is in a bad way. Farmers are poor and uneducated. They do not know the modern methods of farming. They have no good facilities of irrigation. They do not get seeds and fertilizers in time. Thus, the yield is poor. Agriculture is not profitable today. We face the shortage of food. We have to import it. So, poor agriculture is one of the causes of India’s poverty.
Growing population: Our population is growing rapidly. But our resources are limited. The growth in population creates problems for us. Today, our population is 1.20 billion; tomorrow we will be 1.21 billion and so on. We need more food, more houses, and more hospitals for them. So we have no money to spend on development projects. The ever-growing rate of population must be checked. If not, we may not be able to remove India’s poverty.
Gap between the rich and the poor: The widening gap between the rich and the poor is also responsible for India’s poverty. The rich are growing richer. The poor are growing poorer. This economic gap between the two must be reduced. Our social system should be changed. The poor people must get all help to reap the fruits of Independence.
Corruption and black-money: There are corruptions in every walk of life. There is inefficiency in offices. People have become selfish. They neglect the national interests. Black money causes the problem of rising prices. Some people have all the privileges. But many others are suffering. Black money affects our economy. It causes poverty.
Effects of poverty
- Illiteracy: Poor people constitutes greater share of illiterate population. Education becomes extremely difficult when people are deprived of basic necessities of life.
- Child Labor: In India, a large number of young boys and girls are engaged in child labour. Also read, article on Poverty and Child labour in India.
- Nutrition and diet: Poverty is the leading cause of insufficient diet and inadequate nutrition. The resources of poor people are very limited, and its effect can be seen in their diet.
- Poor living condition and Housing problems: The don’t get proper living conditions. They have to fight the hardship of poverty to secure food, clothes and shelter. A large number of poor families live in houses with one room only.
- Unemployment: Poor people move from villages to towns and form one town to another in search of employment/work. Since, they are mostly illiterate and un-skilled, there are very few employment opportunities open for them. Due to unemployment, many poor people are forced to live an unfulfilled life.
- Hygiene and sanitation: These people have little knowledge about hygiene and proper sanitation system. They are not aware of the harmful consequences of not maintaining proper hygiene. The government is taking initiatives to make available clean and safe water, and proper sanitation system to them.
- Feminization of poverty: Women are the worst victims of poverty. Poverty effects greater number of women then men. The total of poor women outnumbers the total population of poor men. The causes include low income, gender-inequality, etc. They are deprived of proper-diet, medicines and health treatment.
- Social tensions: Poverty is often characterized with income disparity and unequal distribution of national wealth between the rich and the poor. Concentration of wealth in the hands of few rich people lead to social disturbances and revolts. Fair or even distribution of wealth leads an overall improvement in general standard of living of people.
We have to solve this problem of India’s poverty.
- Farmers must get all facilities for irrigation.
- They should be trained and educated.
- Agriculture must be made profitable.
- The ever-rising population should be checked.
- Family planning schemes should be introduced.
- More and more industries should be set up to meet the needs of our country.
- Corruption must end. Our offices should work efficiently.
These are some of the ways by which our poverty can be removed.
Poverty is a national problem and it must be solved on a war footing. The government is taking a number of steps to mitigate poverty. Eradication of poverty would ensure a sustainable and inclusive growth of economy and society. We all should do everything possible and within our limits to help alleviate poverty from our country.