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Revision Notes for Class 9 Social Science Chapter 3 Poverty as a Challenge
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Chapter 3 Poverty as a Challenge Notes Class 9 Social Science
POVERTY AS A CHALLENGE
CAUSES OF POVERTY
There were a number of causes for the widespread poverty in India. One historical reason is the low level of economic development under the British colonial administration. The policies of the colonial government ruined traditional handicrafts and discouraged development of industries like textiles. The low rate of growth persisted until the 1980s. 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.
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. 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.
One of the major reasons for high Income inequalities is the unequal distribution of land and other resources. Despite many policies, we have not been able to tackle the issue in a meaningful manner. Major policy initiatives like land reforms which aimed at redistribution of assets in rural areas have not been implemented properly and effectively by most of the state governments. Since lack of land resources has been one of the major causes of poverty in India, proper implementation of policy could have improved the life of millions of rural poor.
Many other socio-cultural and economic factors also are responsible for poverty. 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.
(i) BRITISH Rule: Britishers ruled India for more then 100 years. Prior to the British rule, traditional Industries, for instance, textiles, were flourishing in India. During the British rule, they adopted policies to discourage such industries. This left millions of weavers poor.
(ii) Rural Economy: Indian economy is predominantly rural economy. As such, the major production is of primary goods. In India, 70% of the total population is engaged in agriculture but its contribution to the national income is only one-third. It means that despite India being predominantly an agricultural country, it is very much backward in agriculture.
(iii) Heavy Pressure of Population: population in India has increasing very rapidly. Main factors accounting for it is sharp tall in death rate but stable birth rate for the many decades. This pressure of population serves as a big stumbling block to economic development.
(iv) Chronic Unemployment and Under- employment: with constant increase in population there has developed a situation of chronic unemployment and underemployment. Due to increasing pressure on land, per hectare availability of land is decreasing. Due to division of land, production is decreasing. Agriculture sector is also facing problem of disguised unemployment.
(v) Lack of Proper Industrialisation: India is very backward from the industrial point of view. Hardly 3 percent of working population is engaged in large scale industries. Consumers’ goods industries like soap, cloth, sugar, leather, oil etc. have developed to a large extent but capital and producers’ goods industries have not yet developed properly.
(vi) Social factors: social factors like illiteracy, large size of family, law of inheritance, and caste system are also responsible for prevalence of poverty ridden people.
ANTI POVERTY MEASURES
The current anti-poverty strategy of the government is based broadly on two points: (1) Promotion of economic growth (2) Targeted anti-poverty programmes.
1. Promotion of Economic Growth:
(i) Since the eighties, India’s economic growth has been one of the fastest in the world. The growth rate jumped from the average of about 3.5 per cent a year in the 1970s to about 6 per cent during the 1980s and 1990s. The higher growth rates have helped significantly in the reduction of poverty. It is becoming clear that there is a strong link between economic growth and poverty reduction.
(ii) Economic growth widens opportunities and provides the resources needed to invest in human development. This also encourages people to send their children, including the girl child, to schools in the hope of getting better economic returns from investing in education.
2. Targeted Anti-Poverty Programmes:
National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA) 2005:
(i) It was passed in September 2005. This Act provides for 100 days assured employment every year to every rural household in 200 districts. Later the scheme will be extended to 600 districts.
(ii) One-third of the proposed jobs will be reserved for women.
(iii) The Central Government will establish National Employment Guarantee Funds.
(iv)State governments will establish State Employment Guarantee Funds for implementation of the scheme.
(v) Under the programme if an applicant is not provided employment within fifteen days, she/he will be entitled to a daily unemployment allowance.
National Food for Work Programme (NFWP):
(i) It was launched in 2004 in 150 most backward districts of the country.
(ii) The programme is open to all rural poor who are in need of wage employment and desire to do manual unskilled work.
(iii) It is implemented as a 100 percent centrally sponsored shceme and food grains are provided free of cost to the states.
Prime Minister Rozgar Yozana (PMRY):
(i) It is another scheme which was started in 1993.
(ii) The aim of the programme is to create self-employment opportunities for educated unemployment youth in rural areas and small towns.
(iii) They are helped in setting up small business and industries.
Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP): It was launched in 1995. The aim of the programme is to create self-employment opportunities in rural areas and small towns. A target for creating 25 lakh new jobs has been set for the programme under the Tenth Five Year Plan.
Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY): It was launched in 1999. The programme aims at bringing the assisted poor families above the poverty line by organizing them into self help groups through a mix of bank credit and government subsidy.
Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yozana (PMGY):
(i) It was launched in 2000.
(ii) Additional central assitance is given to states for basic services such as primary health, primary education, rural shelter, rural drinking water and rural electrification.
Antyodaya Anna Yozana (AAY):
This scheme was launched in December 2000.Under this scheme one crore of the poorest among. The BPL families covered under the targeted public distribution system were identified. Poor families were identified by the respective state rural development departments though a Below Poverty Line (BPL) survey. Twenty five kilograms of food grains were made available to each eligible family at a highly at a highly subsidized rate of Rs 2 per Kg for wheat and Rs 3 per for rice. This quantity has been enhanced from 25 to 35 kgs with effect from April 2002. The scheme has been further expanded twice by additional 50 lakh BPL families in June 2003 and in August 2004. With this increase, 2 crore families have been covered under the AAY.
(c) Assessment of poverty – alleviation programmes:
Poverty-alleviation programmes have been implemented in India since 1978. The results of these programmes have been mixed.
On the positive side, the incidence of poverty has declined in India . There has been a significant fall in poverty during the decades of 1980s and 1990s. Whereas in 1973, about 55 percent of India’s population lived below poverty. This ratio has currently come down to 26 percent.
On the negative side, poverty reduction remains India’s most compelling challenge. About one-fourth on India’s total population, i.e., about 260 million persons, live below the line of poverty. This shows that the poverty alleviation programmes have not lived up to the expectations. The major weaknesses of there programmes have been as follows:
(i) Lack of proper implementation.
(ii) Lack of right targeting
(iii) Overlapping of schemes.
(iv) Non-delivery of benefits to the targeted groups.
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
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. This 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 defination of poverty 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. We must broaden the concept into human povety.
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.
XI. The countries use different poverty line because-
a) Poverty line varies from time and space.
b) Each country uses an imaginary line of its own appropriate for its existing level of development and minimum social norm
c) Eg: In USA who does not own a car is considered a poor while in India owning a car is a luxury.
XII. Vulnerability of Poverty means:
1. Greater chances of certain people or group of people communities of becoming poor or remaining poor.
2. It also means that certain people like widow, physically disabled are more prone to poverty in uncertain situations like natural disaster or calamities.
3. It reflects lack of alternatives and social and economic inability to handle risk.
4. Vulnerable groups have higher probability of getting affected than others in bad times.
5. It is determined by the availability of options for finding an alternative living in terms of assets, education health.
XIII. Social Exclusion:
1. Social exclusion involves denial of fair rights and opportunities to certain groups like Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes which are enjoyed by the majority group.
2. It means when an individual or group of people are distanced from the mainstream society.
3. It results in inability of the excluded group to participate in basic political, social and economic functions of the society.
4. Social exclusion is both a cause and consequence of poverty.
5. Eg: social exclusion in India is practiced on the basis of caste system and untouchability. Thus leading to lower castes to live in poverty.
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