What is the incidence of poverty in India? How should poverty alleviation programmes be constructed?
In India, poverty is defined on the basis of calories required by a person in a day, separately for rural and urban areas. Indian Planning Commission fixed 2400 calories per person per day in rural areas and 2100 calories per person per day in urban areas as the limit of poverty line.
Professor Lakdawala Committee suggested to measure per capita income on the basis of Consumer Price Index and Industrial Workers’ Index. According to Prof. Lakdawala Formula, 35.37% of country’s population was below poverty line in 1993-94 and 26.10% in 1999-2000. State-wise distribution of poverty in India ranges from more than 50% in Bihar to nearly 10% in Punjab.
Many policies and programmes, especially after the Fifth Five Year Plan, are directed to alleviate poverty which definitely raised level of life but are not completely successful.
Direct involvement of people in the programmes would result into more success in policy implementation. Awareness among executives, bureaucrats and public is an essential requirement. Panchayats should be given more power and authority in implementation of such programme. More localised content and implementation of policies can be result oriented. Awareness of people about benefits and opportunities available under various governments schemes can be created.
In rural areas, agricultural and animal husbandry related schemes and programmes can be encouraged with community cooperation. Various crafts, arts and skills should be developed among youth and necessary training, tools, loans can be provided to make them self-reliant. Cottage and small industry development will also help in the fulfilment of this aim.