Looking at all poverty from the rural perspective and applying rural solutions to urban conditions will not yield results. Discuss the statement in context of differences between urban and rural poverty in India.

As per UNDP, about 21% people in India live below Poverty Line. Within this, approximately 80% of poor live in rural areas, rest in urban areas.

Differences between urban & rural poverty in India:

  • Major cause:
    • Rural – non remunerative agriculture, small land holdings.
    • Urban – Lack of employment, informal & unremunerative employment.
  • Geographic distribution:
    • Rural – scattered through the villages.
    • Urban – concentrated in slums of urban India.
  • Impact on nutrition:
    • Rural – Lower, due to self-sustainable nature of agriculture.
    • Urban – High, due to low affordability of nutritious food in urban areas.
  • Impact on living conditions:
    • Rural – Major impact on access to healthcare & education.
    • Urban – Exposure to high-risk diseases like typhoid, diarrhea.

Thus, there is a need for different approaches towards urban & rural poverty:

  • Policy focus:
    • Rural – Enhancing viability of agriculture (E.g., PM-KISAN, Soil Health Card, Mechanization, etc).
    • Urban – Generating more job opportunities and focus on formalization of workforce (E.g., PLI scheme, PMEG, etc).
  • Enhanced need for effective implementation of PDS in urban areas and inclusion of micronutrient rich food like eggs, pulses & millets.
  • Enhancing affordable housing like PM Awas Yojana.

Common approaches despite differences:

  • Universal healthcare.
  • Access to quality education at all levels for enhancing social mobility.
  • Diversification of skills & vocational training for youth.
  • Enhance investment in R&D to give boost to entrepreneurship.

One size fits all approach to poverty will not work. Rather, participative & bottom-up approach with specific attention to regions is needed.

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