04_POVERTY class 11





Chapter-4                                                             POVERTY


Poverty may be defined as a situation in which a person is unable to secure even his basic requirements.  These requirements mean minimum human needs in respect of food, clothing, housing, education and health.  It is lock of income to acquire minimum necessities of life.


  1. Starvation and hunger are kef features of poor.  The poor lock basic literacy land skills and have limited economic opportunity.
  2. Malnutrition is high among the poor people.  They are physically weak.
  3. Poor cannot negotiate their legal wages and are exploited by employers.
  4. There is an extreme gender inequality in the participation in education and decision making in family women receive less care.


1)         Chronic poor – These are of two types

  1. Always poor b) usually poor

They usually live below the poverty line .Eg Casual workers, landless workers.

2)         Transient poor – They are of two types

  1. A) Churning poor – They regularly move in and out of poverty eg, small farmers, seasonal farmers.
  2. b) Occasionally poor – They are rich most of the time but may sometimes have patch of bad luck eg people who gamble.

3)         Never poor – They live above the poverty line and they are non – poor eg, doctors, lawyers.

NUMBER OF POOR (or method of fixing poverty line)

  • Dadabhainaroji”s jail cost of living – In pre-independent, DadabhaiNaroji was the first person to discuss the concept of poverty line. He used the menu for prisoners and used appropriate prevailing prices to arrive at the cost of consumption of an adult prisoner.
  • Task force on projection of minimum needs and effective consumption demand

In post – independent India, there have been number of attempts to identify number    of poor in the country. It was formed in 1979.It determined poverty line in terms of minimum nutritional level of food energy required for subsistence. It is expressed in terms of minimum intake of daily calories. It recommended 2400 calories per day per person in rural areas and 2100 for urban areas.

  • MONTHLY PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION EXPENDITURE (MPCE) – The cost of purchasing the consumption basket which would provide the minimum calories intake is estimated by using price indices separately for rural and urban areas. In 1999-2000, planning commission had worked out the cost at Rs, 328 per person per month in the rural aresandRs. 454 per person per month in the urban areas.



Relative – It refers to the poverty in relation to the different classes, region and countries.  The country or class of people whose level of subsistence is low is treated as poor or relatively poor in comparison to the country or class of people having high level of subsistence.

Absolute – Absolute poverty is measured with the help of poverty line.   Poverty line refers to the line which expresses per capita average monthly expenditure incurred by the people to satisfy their basic needs

Relative Poverty Absolute poverty
1. It refers to poverty of the people relative to poverty of other people, region or nation.

2. In India relative poverty is calculated with the help of Lorenz curve


3. India is relatively poorest countries of the world as per capita income is less then 1 dollar per day.


4. In this concept the comparison is of the per capita income of different countries.

1. It refers to total number of people living below the poverty line.


2. In India absolute poverty is calculated with the help of poverty line.


3 .In India 25% of the total population is absolutely poor.



4. This concept is relevant for less developed and developing nations.

No. of poor in India

When the no. of poor is estimated as the proportion of people below the poverty line, it is known as ‘Head count Ratio. ‘The official data on poverty is mode available by the planning commission and collected by National Sample Survey Organizations.

In 1999 – 2000, the poverty falls to 260 million.  In 1973 – 74, more than 80% of the poor resided in rural areas and in 1999 – 2000, it comes down to 75%.  This means that more than 3/4th of the poor resided in villages.  Also poverty which was rising in ruling areas was shifted to urban areas. The states like U.P., Bihar, M.P. and West Bengal accounts for about 70% of the Indian poor.


It is defined as self reinforcing force in which there are certain factors that are related in circular way and result in poverty and underdevelopment.

It shows that in an under developed countries, total output is low. It results in low real income. They are able to save less which implies low investment and low capital formation. A country with low capital investment will be under developed and the process gets repeated again.


Economic factors

  1. Backwardness of agriculture – Inadequate supply of water, fertilizers, pesticides, HYV seeds   and low level of technology are the main reasons responsible for backwardness of agriculture in India. As a result of it the productivity is also very low in India and that is why most of the farmers live in poverty.
  2. Unemployment and underemployed – Poverty is just the reflection of unemployment.  There are educated unemployed and disguised unemployed in rural areas.  The labor force remains idle and unutilized because of unemployment. On the other hand the number of people dependent on working population increases. As a result the level of income and purchasing power goes down.
  3. Lack of efficient entrepreneurs – There is a great shortage of efficient entrepreneurs, possessing initiative, imagination and risk taking ability.  Therefore production activity remains at low level of which implies low level of employment and high level of poverty.
  4. Inflationary pressures – Poor and middle class of the society is forced to live in pressure because of the continuous rise in the prices of many consumption goods. As a result of inflationary pressure large section of the population is under poverty line.
  5. Lock of infrastructure – Energy, transport and communication, education, health and housing services are in a very bad shape in India.  These are the base of growth and development. It results in low level of productivity and country remains in a state of poverty.
  6. With reference to unequal distribution of wealth – Unequal distribution of income and wealth reflects poverty.  Efforts are made during the planning to remove inequality in the distribution of income and wealth, but it has always increased. A large section of the people are forced to remain under poverty due to the concentration on wealth in few hands

Non economic factors

  1. Heavy pressure of population – Population in India has been rising in India at a rapid rate. This is due to fall in the death rate and more or less stable birth rate.  High pressure of population implies greater poverty. The wants are rising at a high level but resources to fulfill those demands are limited.
  2. British rule – Britishers exploited India during their colonial rule. They destroyed in\\India’s traditional handicraft industries, adopted policies contrary to the India’s economic development.
  3. Outdated Social institutions – The social structure of our country is full of outdated traditions and institutions, like caste system, laws of inheritance because of this growth rate are hampered.


Measures to remove poverty

  1. Speeding up the rate of economic growth – This measure is an ultimate solution to the problem of poverty.  As the pace of growth increases, more workers would be employed in farms and factories, Greater the employment, lesser the poverty.
  2. Reduction in the inequality of Income –  This can be done by taking the following measures –

Laborers in agricultural sector and unorganized sector should be given wages     according to their productivity.

  • amount of indirect taxes should be imposed on wage goods like food cloth so that their consumption can improve.
  • Provision should be in the plans for producing wages goods on a large scale.
  • Poor families should be given free education and health facilities.
  • Creation of employment opportunities to the poor and fair wages to the workers
  • Implementation of land reform measures/
  • Raising the standard of living of SC-ST etc.
  1. Reduction in the growth rate of population – Poverty can be reduced, only when increase in the population is checked.  So that increase in the national income is reflected as increase in the per capita income.  Higher income would mean greater savings, investment, prod employment and hence less poverty.

Other measures

  1. Development of Agriculture – Special efforts should be made to develop the agriculture.  It should be modernized in order to reduce poverty. Condition of landless laborers and marginal farmers should be improved and redistribution of land should be done.
  2. Stability in the price level – Prices can be stabilized when production of food grains and others can be increased and when goods are distributed through fair price shops.
  3. Reducing unemployment – Opportunities of employment in rural areas must be fully explored.  Cottage and small scale industries should be encouraged.
  4. Special focus on backward region – Govt. should offer special concession and facility to backward regions so as to encourage pirate investment.
  5. Self-Employment – More and more industrial should be opened to impart, to industrial and entrepreneurial education.  Loans should also be offered at low rate of interest for starting up a business.

Measures adopted by Govt.

Poverty Alleviation Programmers

(I)        Self employment program me –

(1) Swaranjayanti Gram SwarozgarYojna – Under this program me large no. of small enterprises will be established in rural areas.  The poor will be granted bank loans and subsidies to establish small enterprises.

(2) Sampoorna Gram RozgarYojna = It was launched on Ist September 2001.  The main objectives were –

(a) To provide employment opportunities.

(b) To focus on the development of regional and social conditions.

(c) To focus on the development of infrastructure.

(3) Prime minister RozgarYojna -The scheme was meant for providing employment to the educated unemployed both self employment and wage employment in urban area.

(4) Rural Employment

Generation Programme=  The first program me aims at creating self employment opportunities in rural areas and small towns under this program me one can get financial assistance in the form of bank loan. Bank loan to set up small industries.

(II) Wage employment program me

  • National rural employment guarantee act 2005 = This main objective of this act is to provide guaranteed wage employment to every household whose adult volunteers is to do unskilled manual work for a min. of 100 days in a year.
  • Sampoorna Gram RozgarYogna


(III) Minimum Need Programme

To raise the standard of living of poor, minimum need program me was launched during the 5th plans.  It includes primary education, adult education etc.  It was expected to improve the quality of life of people.

Achievement of the programmes

  • There has been a decline in the percent of population below poverty line from 55% in 1973-74 to 26% 1999-2000.
  • There has been an increase in the wages of the poor because of PAPS

Problems faced while adopting PAPS

  • The administration and impel staff were inefficient and could not work efficiently.
  • In charge of the programmeused to favor rich and educated class as compare to the poor.
  • Remote areas were neglected because of the lack of accessibility.
  • Institutes that were needed to provide facilities like credit, marketing etc were not very supportive.
  • The PAPS were largely govt. sponsored program me and locked participation of the people.


  • The rate of economic growth should be raised- Economic growth can be helpful in removing the poverty by trickle down effect. It was felt that by economic growth would benefit the underdeveloped regions and backward section of the  society
  • Various beneficiary oriented programmes need to be started- Local institutions have to be involved in this program me. The activities should be organized on co-operative basis. Major training programme should be taken up to improve the skills of potential workers.
  • To provide minimum basic amenities- The basic amenities like water supply, sanitation, and nutrition should be provided to the people.



  • Poverty is the inability to fulfill the minimum requirement of life like food,clothing, housingeducation and health facilities etc.
  • Relative poverty refers to poverty of people in comparison to otherpeople, region or nations.
  • Absolute poverty refers to total number of people living below the poverty line.
  • Poverty line refers to that line which express per capita average monthlyexpenditure incurred by the people to satisfy their minimum needs.
  • Those people who are always poor and those who are usually poor called chronic poor.
  • All those people who are churning poor moving in and out of poverty like seasonal workers and occasionally poor called transient poor.
  • Those people who live above the poverty line. They are called non poor.
  • The ratio between urban and rural area of the population live below thepoverty line has declined since 2000. Still 27% of population is poor and70% of poor population live in Utarpradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, WestBangal and Odisha.
  • Estimation of poverty line :

Calories based estimation – For rural area intake calorie was estimated at 2,400calories and for urbans area it is 2,100 calories.

In 1999-2000new ways of measuring started i.e. monthly per capita expenditure

It estimates for rural area as consumption worth Rs. 328 per persons andfor urban areas it was Rs. 454.

  • Causes of Poverty :
  1. Rapid increase in population
  2. Low level of National product.
  3. Rise in price
  4. Unemployment
  5. Low rate of growth
  6. Capital deficiency.
  • Measures adopted by the Government to remove poverty.
  1. Food for work programme.
  2. Swarnjayanti Gram SwarozgarYojana.
  3. Pradhan MantriGramodoyaYojana.
  4. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.