After India achieved independence in 1947, Indian government looked for a planned development to construct the contours of modern India which will be devoid of poverty and unemployment. India stepping into the world of modernity cannot be denied in the view of the facts that India had send its space craft to Moon, developed an atomic bomb, harbinger of software industry, fourth largest economy of the world, having second largest tele-density in the world etc. Despite of these appreciable accomplishments, poverty is also a bitter pill which India had to swallow even after the six decades of planned development.
Poverty a reality in Modern India
According to Planning Commission, in 2009-10 data show a decline in poverty from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 32 per cent in 2009-10. Thus still roughly one third of the Indian population is living below the poverty line. The National Sample Survey, which conducts large sample surveys every five years, will launch its next round in 2011-12 with result coming in 2013. According to UNDP’s Multi Dimensional Poverty Index, More than 410 million people live in poverty in the India. It further revealed that the “intensity” of the poverty in parts of India is equal to, if not worse than, that in Africa.
Main causes of poverty in India are
•The population during the last 45 years has increased at the rate of 2.2% per annum. On average 17 million people are added every year to its population which raises the demand for consumption goods considerably.
•The level of productivity in agriculture is low due to subdivided and fragmented holdings, lack of capital, use of traditional methods of cultivation, illiteracy etc. This is the main cause of poverty in the country.
•The existence of under employment and disguised unemployment of human resources and under utilization of resources has resulted in low production in agricultural sector. This brought a down fall in their standard of living.
•The rate of economic development in India has been below the required level. Therefore, there persists a gap between level of availability and requirements of goods and services. The net result is poverty.
•The continuous and steep price rise has added to the miseries of poor. It has benefited a few people in the society and the persons in lower income group find it difficult to get their minimum needs..
•The continuously expanding army of unemployed is another cause of poverty. The job seeker is increasing in number at a higher rate than the expansion in employment opportunities.
•Capital and able entrepreneurship have important role in accelerating the growth. But these are in short supply making it difficult to increase production significantly.
•The social set up is still backward and is not conducive to faster development. Laws of inheritance, caste system, traditions and customs are putting hindrances in the way of faster development and have aggravate" the problem of poverty.
•In independent India, the development plans have been guided by political interests. Hence, the planning a failure to tackle the problems of poverty and unemployment.
If we talk about modern India, we can found modern India in every sector like manufacturing, trade, services etc, but we utterly failed in modernizing the agriculture. Agriculture still employs more than half of the county’s work force but it is also the least productive sector of the economy. If in one year, the income of farmers is affected by the failure of crops, in next year; their income is affected due to the glut in the supply. This means that the government should have in priority overhauled the agricultural sector. By improving agricultural productivity it would have directly alleviated poverty by the hundreds of millions. Further, it will also reduce the migration of work force from rural to urban areas which add to the proliferation of slums and poverty and unemployment in urban areas.
However, migration of work force from agriculture to other sectors s essential also as agriculture is overburdened with the labour supply. Therefore industries in other sectors must be employment intensive which can accommodate the vast labour force of agricultural economy.
As we see, poverty in India is not because of a single factor but host of causes are behind it, measures required to curtail poverty must also be multipronged-
•Poverty can be eliminated if the poor people are given the jobs according to their needs and talents. Self employment can also be provided to them. Government can set up institutions which trains them in some practices and skills.
•Government should develop cottage, handicrafts and other small scale industries to in the backward regions of our country. Moreover this will transfer resources from the areas of surplus to the deficit solving the problem of urbanization.
•Government should take steps to spread awareness for education so that the people do not have to depend on others for their income. They can also protect themselves from exploitation by the greedy traders.
•Inflation tends to make poor poorer and rich richer. There should be a stability in the price level of the country. Government should also reduce the burden of tax on the poor and charge more on the richer class. Rationing should be promoted so that the poor people get the basic necessities of life at lower price level.
•Much of the problem of poverty can be solved if the population of the country can be reduced to a average level. This will make developmental plans successful and the poor people will have a greater share in the funds of the government.
•Resources of the country should be utilized properly so that we can have the benefits of those free gifts of nature.
•Agriculture is the backbone of our country. It provides income to vast number of people. Hence the government should also concentrate on it and not only on the industries.
In the initial years of planning, planners thought that high rate of growth wil itself take care of poverty and with the sustained high rate of growth poverty rates will automatically come down. But post globalization years have seen one highest growth rate in India but the impact on poverty in India has not been commendable. Therefore it is not correct to wait for the fruits of growth to percolate to the poor but a direct attack on poverty is need of hour.
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