CONCEPT OF POVERTY People who fail to reach a certain minimum level of consumption standard are generally regarded as poor
. The planning commission has adopted the definition provided by the ‘Task force on projections of minimum needs and Effective consumption demand’ according to which, a person is below the poverty line if his daily consumption of calories is less than 2400 in rural areas and 2100 in urban areas. CAUSES OF POVERTY
Economic backwardness or stagnation :It is characteristic of the
countryside of a developing country like INDIA where majority of the population lives. Agriculture is the main occupation of the rural poor and contributes one-third of the NDP. Yet the income it provides to agriculture workers is substantially below average and almost at the subsistence level. This includes many factors such as small size of land holdings, inadequate irrigation facilities, lack of enough financial resources needed for investment for ensuring development and raising productivity. Thus, productivity in small farms is generally low resulting in very low levels of returns. The condition of landless agricultural labourer is worse. The economic condition of persons engaged in non- agricultural activities in the rural sector is equally dismal.
Political stakes :These are also equally responsible for wide spread
poverty in the economy. But whereas these interests can be countered
by following the right type of policies, social factors responsible for promoting poverty are more subtle and are interwoven in the web of society itself. Inhibitions and handicaps arising from caste and religion are hard to overcome and require considerable effort by way of propaganda and education through mass media, re- orientation of education system. OTHER FACTORS
Family size and family composition
Poor levels of education and skills
Lack of motivation and will The feudalistic system
Review of poverty removal by Indian government
Integrated Rural development programme(IRDP):
The IRDP started since the sixth plan, and aimed at an all round development of the target group to lift it above the poverty line. The target group consisted of the poorest among the poor in rural areas. Under the programme, subsidies were provided to the identified families so as to enable them to acquire an income generating asset. It, through a programme of asset endowment, aimed to provide selfemployment in a variety of activities like sericulture, animal husbandry, weaving & handicrafts. The programme of the IRDP has now been merged with swarna jayanti gram swarozgar yojana.
Scheme for providing self employment to educated unemployed
youth: This scheme aimed at providing self employment to about 2 to 2.5 lakh educated unemployed youth through industry, service and business routes in each year. The schemes provides for loan up to Rs 25000 at concessional rate of interest of 10% per annum in the centrally backward districts and 12% per annum in other districts.
Jawahar Rojgar Yojana:
The JRY had been formulated by merging together two wage employment programmes that had been in operation earlier i.e. NREP AND RLEGP. The main objectives of the JRY were a) generation of additional gainful employment for the unemployed and underemployed in rural areas.
b) Creation of productive community assets for the benefit of priority groups. c) Improvement in the overall quality of life in the rural areas. This programme was renamed as JAWAHAR GRAM SAMMRIDHI YOJANA and in APRIL 2002 it merged with Sampoorna Grameen rozgar yojana.
Nehru Rozgar Yojana:
The NRY is the urban counterpart of the JRY. It aims at creating one million jobs annually. It wil create opportunities for self employment as well as generate wage employment. The target group will be the urban poor living below the poverty line. This programme was later merged with Swarn Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana.
The programme of development of women and children in rural
areas (DWCRA): The DWCRA aims to improve the socio economic status of the poor women in rural areas through creation of group of women for income generating activities on a self sustaining basis.
The Employment assurance scheme (EAS):
The EAS was started in 1993 and later universalized so asto make it applicable to all rural blocks of the country. It aimed at providing 100 days of unskilled manual work up to two members of the family in the age group 18-60 years normally residing in villages in the lean agriculture season . Since April 2002 it has been merged with Sampooran Gramin Rozgar Yojana.
OTHER POVERTY REMOVAL AND EMPLOYMENT GENERATION PROGRAMMES The Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana. Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana. The Swarna Jayanti Gram Rozgar Yojana.
National social assistance programme.
Indira awas yojana Food for Work Programme.
Some steps taken by other countries for eradication of poverty One of the steps was taken by Mohammed Yunus of Bangladesh. He started the Grameen foundation. The origin of Grameen Bank can be traced back to 1976 when Professor Muhammad Yunus, Head of the Rural Economics Program at the University of Chittagong, launched an action research project to examine the possibility of designing a credit delivery system to provide banking services targeted at the rural poor. Grameen Foundation's mission is to enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty. With tiny loans, financial services and technology, they help the poor, mostly women; start self-sustaining businesses to escape poverty. Founded in 1997 by a group of friends who were inspired by the work of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, the global network of 55 microfinance institution (MFI) partners, including Growth Guarantee partners, has touched more than 34 million people in 24 countries. The partners has reached till now 6.8 million clients, and in addition, they introduced technology initiatives (Mifos and Village Phone) in Cameroon, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda, bringing their total country outreach to 28. Islamic funding Indonesia has come out in support of an initiative by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to establish a fund aimed at promoting solidarity and cooperation among Islamic countries in line with poverty alleviation movements. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met with the president of the IDB, Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al Madani, at the State Palace. They discussed the idea of establishing the Islamic Solidarity Fund for
Development (ISFD), which was proposed during an Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in 1991. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said after the meeting the ISFD was a fund collected by OIC member countries and the IDB to be disbursed for poverty alleviation programs in Islamic countries. "As of now, we have collected US$2.6 billion, with $1.6 billion from OIC members and the remaining from the IDB. We have targeted to collect $10 billion," she said. "We will invest the money and use the profit to finance poverty alleviation programs, such as through public-private partnerships in micro-financing and other activities that are aimed at improving the economy." She said other initiatives would include delivering technical assistance through vocational training, in a move to develop working skills and create more job opportunities. The meeting was also attended by the former president of Sudan, Abdel Rahman Swar Al Dahab, IDB regional office director Ahmed S. Hariri, an adviser to the IDB president, Mansour bin Fetten, and former Indonesian president B.J. Habibie. "President Yudhoyono said he fully supported the idea and would discuss it with other OIC members in the upcoming summit in Senegal," Sri Mulyani said. She said it would require the commitment and contributions from all OIC members, and that it would take years to completely realize the idea.
POVERTY OF SOME OTHER COUNTRIES: Apart from INDIA there are some other countries suffering from poverty or has suffered from poverty. Lets take the case of the country ZIMBABWE. THE REASONS FOR POVERTY INCREASE IN ZIMBABWE Poverty in Zimbabwe increased unambiguously during the first half of the 1990s. This text sheds light on the sources of this increase using several analytical techniques. The changes in standard descriptive statistics are examined first. Then changes in the entire distribution of well-being are examined using nonparametric methods, and the results show a broad-based decline in wellbeing. Using density-reweighting techniques, shifts in well-being are then decomposed. The decompositions suggest that declines in well-being between 1990 and 1995 derive from general declines in returns on assets; however, the declines would have been greater had significant investments in human and physical assets not been made by families. Regression-based decompositions follow up these findings and examine the role changes in returns to specific household assets have played in increasing poverty. The results indicate that the increase in poverty is primarily the result of declines in returns to human assets. The results also call into question the efficacy of the Economic structural Adjustment Program as it was implemented during the early 1990s. As of 1995, the Zimbabwean economy was not creating the types and quantities of jobs needed to reward continued investments in human capital. In rural areas, the two droughts that the country suffered between 1990 and 1995 had major short-term impacts on poverty, and ownership of physical assets has not yet recovered to pre-1991 levels. However, declining returns on human and physical assets in rural areas would have raised poverty levels even without drought conditions. Serious structural changes to the economy are needed to create labor market conditions conducive to long-term, broad-based growth.
HOW UNITED STATES SUFERRED FROM POVERTY AND WHAT MEASURES THEY TOOK TO COME OUT OF POVERTY? The most common measure of poverty in the United States is the "poverty line set by the U.S. government. This measure recognizes poverty as a lack of those goods and services commonly taken for granted by members of mainstream society. The official threshold is adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index. Poverty in the United States is cyclical in nature with roughly 12% to 17% living below the federal poverty line at any given point in time, and roughly 40% falling below the poverty line at some point within a 10 year time span. Most Americans (58.5%) will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75. While there remains some controversy over whether the official poverty threshold over- or understates poverty, the United States has some of the highest absolute and relative pre- and post-transfer poverty rates in the developed world. Overall, the U.S. ranks 12th on the Human Development Index Those under the age of 18 were the most likely to be impoverished. In 2006 the poverty rate for minors in the United States was the highest in the industrialized world, with 21.9% of all minors and 30% of African American minors living below the poverty threshold. Moreover, the standard of living for those in the bottom 10% was lower in the U.S. than other developed nations except the United Kingdom, which has the lowest standard of living for impoverished children in the developed world. According to a 2008 report released by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, on average, rates of child poverty are persistently higher in rural parts of the country relative to suburban areas and share similar rates with many central cities.
Measures of poverty Measures of poverty can be either absolute or relative. The official measure of poverty
Percent and number below the poverty threshold.
The poverty rate for selected age groups. Those under the age of 18 are most likely to fall below the poverty threshold.
People who experience homelessness make poverty more visible in the United States. There are two basic versions of the federal poverty measure: the poverty thresholds (which are the primary version) and the poverty guidelines. The Census Bureau issues the poverty thresholds, which are generally used for statistical purposes—for example, to estimate the number of people in poverty nationwide each year and classify them by type of residence, race, and other social, economic, and demographic characteristics. The Department of Health and Human Services issues the poverty guidelines for administrative purposes—for instance, to determine whether a person or family is eligible for assistance through various federal programs. Since the 1960s, the United States Government has defined poverty in absolute terms. When the Johnson administration declared "war on poverty" in 1964, it chose an absolute measure. The "absolute poverty line" is the threshold below which families or individuals are considered to be lacking the resources to meet the basic needs for healthy living; having insufficient income to provide the food, shelter and clothing needed to preserve health. The "Orshansky Poverty Thresholds" form the basis for the current measure of poverty in the U.S. Mollie Orshansky was an economist working for the Social Security Administration (SSA). Her work appeared at an opportune moment. Orshansky's article was published later in the same year that Johnson declared war on poverty. Since her measure was absolute (i.e., did not depend on other events), it made it possible to objectively answer whether the U.S. government was "winning" this war. The newly formed United States Office of Economic Opportunity adopted the lower of the
Orshansky poverty thresholds for statistical, planning, and budgetary purposes in May 1965. The Bureau of the Budget (now the Office of Management and Budget) adopted Orshansky's definition for statistical use in all Executive departments in 1965. The measure gave a range of income cutoffs, or thresholds, adjusted for factors such as family size, sex of the family head, number of children under 18 years old, and farm or non-farm residence. The economy food plan (the least costly of four nutritionally adequate food plans designed by the Department of Agriculture) was at the core of this definition of poverty. The Department of Agriculture found that families of three or more persons spent about one third of their after-tax income on food. For these families, poverty thresholds were set at three times the cost of the economy food plan. Different procedures were used for calculating poverty thresholds for twoperson households and persons living alone. Annual updates of the SSA poverty thresholds were based on price changes in the economy food plan. Two changes were made to the poverty definition in 1969. Thresholds for non-farm families were tied to annual changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rather than changes in the cost of the economy food plan. Farm thresholds were raised from 70 to 85% of the non-farm levels. In 1981, further changes were made to the poverty definition. Separate thresholds for "farm" and "female-householder" families were eliminated. The largest family size category became "nine persons or more." Apart from these changes, the U.S. government's approach to measuring poverty has remained static for the past forty year.
Recent poverty rate and guidelines
The official poverty rate in the U.S. increased for four consecutive years, from a 26-year low of 11.3% in 2000 to 12.7% in 2004, then declined somewhat to 12.3% in 2006. This means that 36.5 million people (approx 1 in 8 Americans) were below the official poverty thresholds in 2006, compared to 31.1 million in 2000, and that there was an increase of 4.9 million poor from 2000 to 2006 while the total population grew by 17.5 million.  The poverty rate for children under 18 years old increased from 16.2% to 17.8% from 2000 to 2004 and had dropped to 17.4% in 2005 and 2006.  The 2007-2008 poverty threshold was measured according to the HHS Poverty Guidelines which are illustrated in the table below. Persons in Family Unit 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 For each additional person, add 48 Contiguous States and D.C. $10,400 $14,000 $17,600 $21,200 $24,800 $28,400 $32,000 $35,600 $3,600 Alaska Hawaii $13,00 $11,960 0 $17,50 $16,100 0 $22,00 $20,240 0 $26,50 $24,380 0 $31,00 $28,520 0 $35,50 $32,660 0 $40,00 $36,800 0 $44,50 $40,940 0 $4,500 $4,140
Relative measures of poverty Another way of looking at poverty is in relative terms. "Relative poverty" can be defined as having significantly less access to income and wealth than other members of society. Therefore, the relative poverty rate can directly be linked to income inequality. When the standard of living among those in more financially advantageous positions rises while that of those considered poor stagnates, the relative poverty rate will reflect such growing income inequality and increase. Conversely, the poverty rate can decrease, with low income people coming to have less wealth and income if wealthier people's wealth is reduced by a larger percentage than theirs. In 1959, a family at the poverty line had an income that was 42.64% of the median income. Thus, a poor family in 1999 had relatively less income and therefore relatively less purchasing power than wealthier members of society in 1959, and, therefore, "poverty" had increased. But, because this is a relative measure, this is not saying that a family in 1999 with the same amount of wealth and income as a family from 1959 had less purchasing power than the 1959 family. In the EU, "relative poverty" is defined as an income below 60% of the national median equalized disposable income after social transfers for a comparable household. In Germany, for example, the official relative poverty line for a single adult person in 2003 was 938 euros per month (11,256 euros/year, $12,382 PPP. West Germany 974 euros/month, 11,688 euros/year, $12,857 PPP). For a family of four with two children below 14 years the poverty line was 1969.8 euros per month ($2,167 PPP) or 23,640 euros ($26,004 PPP) per year. According to Eurostat the percentage of people in Germany living at risk of poverty (relative poverty) in 2004 was 16% (official national rate 13.5% in 2003). Additional definitions for poverty in Germany are "poverty" (50% median) and "strict poverty" (40% median, national rate 1.9% in 2003). Generally the percentage for "relative poverty" is much higher than the quota for "strict poverty". The U.S concept is best comparable to "strict poverty". By European standards the official (relative) poverty rate in the United States would be significantly higher than
it is by the U.S. measure. A research paper from the OECD calculates the relative poverty rate for the United States at 16% for 50% median of disposable income and nearly 24% for 60% of median disposable income (OECD average: 11% for 50% median, 16% for 60% median). The income distribution and relative poverty.Although the relative approach theoretically differs largely from the Orshansky definition, crucial variables of both poverty definitions are more similar than often thought. First, the socalled standardization of income in both approaches is very similar. To make incomes comparable among households of different sizes, equivalence scales are used to standardize household income to the level of a single person household. In Europe, the modified OECD equivalence scale is used, which takes the combined value of 1 for the head of household, 0.5 for each additional household member older than 14 years and 0.3 for children. When compared to the US Census poverty lines, which is based on a defined basket of goods, for the most prevalent household types both standardization methods show to be very similar. Secondly, if the of the poverty threshold in Western-European countries is not always higher than the Orshansky threshold for a single person family. The actual Orchinsky poverty line for single person households in the US ($9645 in 2004) is very comparable to the relative poverty line in many Western-European countries (Belgium 2004: €9315), while price levels are also similar. The reason why relative poverty measurement causes high poverty levels in the US, as demonstrated by Förster, is caused by distributional effects rather than real differences in wellbeing among EUcountries and the USA. The median household income is much higher in the US than in Europe due to the wealth of the middle classes in the US, from which the poverty line is derived. Although the paradigm of relative poverty is most valuable, this comparison of poverty lines show that the higher prevalence of relative poverty levels in the US are not an indicator of a more severe poverty problem but an indicator of larger inequalities between rich middle classes and the low-income households. It is therefore not correct to state that the US income distribution is characterised by a large proportion of households in poverty; it is characterized by relatively large income inequality but also high levels of prosperity of the middle classes. The 2007 poverty threshold for a three member family is 17,070.
Poverty and demographics In addition to family status, race/ethnicity and age also correlate with poverty in America. Although data regarding race and poverty are more extensively published and cross tabulated the family status correlation is by far the strongest. Poverty and family status According to the US Census, in 2007 5.8% of all people in married families lived in poverty,  as did 26.6% of all persons in single parent households and 19.1% of all persons living alone. By race/ethnicity and family status. Among married families: 5.8% of all people including 5.4% of white persons, 8.3% of black persons, and 14.9% of Hispanic persons (of any race) were in poverty. Among single parent families: 26.6% of all persons, including 30% of white persons, 44% of black persons, and 33% of Hispanic persons (of any race) were in poverty. Among unrelated individuals and people living alone: 19.1% of all persons, including 18% of white persons 27.9% of black persons and 27% of Hispanic persons of any race lived in poverty. Poverty and race The US Census declared that in 2007 - 12.5% of all people, including - 10.5% white people
- 24.5% black people - 21.5% all Hispanic people of any race, lived in poverty. Poverty and age The US Census declared that in 2007 - 12.5% of all people including - 18% of all people under age 18 - 10.9% of all people 19-64, and - 9.7% of all people ages 65 and older, lived in poverty The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) uses a different measure for poverty and declared in 2008 that child poverty in the US is 20% and poverty among the elderly is 23%. Human poverty index The United Nations Development Programme, uses the human poverty index in order to assess the development with regards to poverty among OECD countries. The index takes the likelihood of a child not surviving to age 60, functional illiteracy rate, long-term unemployment and the population living on less than 50% of the median national income into account. While the United States has the second lowest long-term unemployment rate in the developed world, it has the highest percentage of children who are not likely to live to age 60 and persons living on less than 50% of the national median income and the third highest percentage of adults lacking functional literacy skills. Ranking Country H PI2 Probabili ty at birth of not surviving to age 60 (%) 7.2 8.4 8.7 9.7 10.4 8.8 People lacking function al literacy skills (%) 7.5 7.9 10.5 10.4 9.6 14.4 Long-term Populatio unemployme n below nt (%) 50% of median income (%) 1.0 6.5 0.4 6.4 2.5 7.3 2.1 1.3 5.0 5.4 8.3
1 2 3 4 5 6
Sweden Norway Netherland s Finland Denmark Germany
6.5 7.0 8.2 8.2 8.4 1
7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
0.3 Switzerlan 1 d 0.7 Canada 1 0.9 Luxembou 1 rg 1.1 France 1 1.4 Japan 1 1.7 Belgium 1 2.4 Spain 1 2.6 Australia 1 2.8 United 1 Kingdom 4.8 United 1 States 5.4 Ireland 1 6.1 Italy 2 9.9
7.8 8.1 9.7 9.8 7.1 9.4 8.7 7.7 8.7 11.8 8.7 7.8
15.9 14.6 18.4 17.0 21.8 20.0 22.6 47.0
1.6 0.7 1.2 4.3 1.5 4.3 3.0 0.9 1.1 0.6 1.5 4.0
7.6 11.4 6.0 8.0 11.8 8.0 14.3 14.3 12.4 17.0 16.5 12.7
Other international comparisons Country Absolute poverty rate Relative poverty (threshold set at 40% of U.S. median rate household income) Pre-transfer Post-transfer PrePosttransfer transfer Sweden 23.7 5.8 14.8 4.8 Norway 09.2 1.7 12.4 4.0 Netherlands 22.1 7.3 18.5 11.5 Finland 11.9 3.7 12.4 3.1 Denmark 26.4 5.9 17.4 4.8
Germany Switzerland Canada France Belgium Australia United Kingdom United States Italy
15.2 12.5 22.5 36.1 26.8 23.3 16.8 21.0 30.7
4.3 3.8 6.5 9.8 6.0 11.9 8.7 11.7 14.3
9.7 10.9 17.1 21.8 19.5 16.2 16.4 17.2 19.7
5.1 9.1 11.9 6.1 4.1 9.2 8.2 15.1 9.1
Food security Eighty-nine percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year 2002, meaning that they had access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households were food insecure at least some time during that year. The prevalence of food insecurity rose from 10.7% in 2001 to 11.1% in 2002, and the prevalence of food insecurity with hunger rose from 3.3% to 3.5%. Factors of poverty There are numerous factors related to poverty in the United States.
Sociological factors: People experiencing homelessness living in cardboard boxes in Los Angeles, California.
Some poverty in the United States is the result of social institutions which contribute to and sustain poverty.  Some claim that poverty is also the product of deindustrialization. As the U.S. shifts from a manufacturing, industrial society to a service-oriented, high-tech society, many of the bluecollar jobs that required little education but paid well are disappearing or being outsourced. Rural areas, such as Appalachia, suffer losses of mining jobs. Other factors: Tax levels Cross-country data shows an inverse correlation between tax levels as a share of GDP and child poverty. Limited job opportunities appear to exist for significant subgroups of some races and ethnic groups. This is reflected by the low-income nature of large sections of the economy, as divided along racial/ethnic lines: 21% of all children in the United States live in poverty, but 46% of African American children and 40% of Latino children live in poverty. The Heritage Foundation speculates that illegal immigration increases job competition among low wage earners, both native and foreign born. Additionally many first generation immigrants, namely those without a high school diploma, are also living in poverty themselves. Controversy: There has been significant disagreement about poverty in the United States; particularly over how poverty ought to be defined. Using radically different definitions, two major groups of advocates dispute whether or not more resources are needed to help lessen poverty. Liberals consistently claim that more resources are needed to alleviate poverty. Conservatives often argue that the condition of the poor does not presently require more resources but rather an allocation that encourages a temporary dependence upon the American social safety net. Much of the debate about poverty focuses on statistical measures of poverty and the clash between advocates and opponents of welfare programs and government regulation of the free market. Since measures can be either absolute or relative, it is possible that advocates for the different sides of this debate are basing their arguments on different ways of measuring poverty. It is often claimed that poverty is understated, yet there are some who also
believe it is overstated; thus the accuracy of the current poverty threshold guidelines is subject to debate and considerable concern. In a 2003 editorial in The Washington Times, Bruce Bartlett wrote, "In a supplementary report that got no press attention, the Census Bureau looked at some of these new necessities and their ownership by the poor. It turns out many poor people today own appliances that were considered luxuries when I grew up, and some that would still be considered luxuries today. For example, 91 percent of those in the lowest 10 percent of households -- all officially poor -- own color TVs, 74 percent own microwave ovens, 55 percent own VCRs, 47 percent own clothes dryers, 42 percent own stereos, 23 percent own dishwashers, 21 percent own computers and 19 percent own garbage disposals. When I grew up in the 1950s, only the wealthy owned color TVs, clothes dryers, stereos, dishwashers and disposals. These were all considered luxuries. We got by with black-and-white TVs, hanging our wet clothes on a line to dry, washing dishes by hand and throwing our potato peels in a pail instead of down the drain. So did most other middle-class families. Not even the wealthiest people owned microwave ovens, VCRs or computers." However, as noted in "EU versus USA", only 11% of those in the general UK population own a dishwasher, and the penetration rate of microwave ovens in the EU is generally well under 30%. The report goes on to note that 46% of poor households in the US own their own home, and 30% have two or more cars, and 63% have cable or satellite TV. Concerns regarding accuracy In recent years, there have been a number of concerns raised about the official U.S. poverty measure. In 1995, the National Research Council's Committee on National Statistics convened a panel on measuring poverty. The findings of the panel were that "the official poverty measure in the United States is flawed and does not adequately inform policy-makers or the public about who is poor and who is not poor." The panel was chaired by Robert Michael, former Dean of the Harris School of the University of Chicago. According to Michael, the official U.S. poverty measure "has not kept pace with far-reaching changes in society and the economy." The panel proposed a model based on disposable income: “According to the panel's recommended measure, income would include, in addition to money received, the value of non-cash benefits such as food stamps, school lunches and public housing that can be used to satisfy basic needs. The new measure also would subtract from gross income certain
expenses that cannot be used for these basic needs, such as income taxes, child-support payments, medical costs, health-insurance premiums and work-related expenses, including child care.”
Understating poverty Many sociologists and government officials have argued that poverty in the United States is understated, meaning that there are more households living in actual poverty than there are households below the poverty threshold. A recent NPR report states that as much as 30% of Americans have trouble making ends meet and other advocates have made supporting claims that the rate of actual poverty in the US is far higher than that calculated by using the poverty threshold. While the poverty threshold is updated for inflation every year, the basket of goods used to determine what constitutes being deprived of a socially acceptable miniumum standard of living has not been updated since 1955. As a result, the current poverty line only takes goods into account that were common more than 50 years ago, updating their cost using the Consumer Price Index. Mollie Orshansky, who devised the original goods basket and methodology to measure poverty, used by the U.S. government, in 1963-65, updated the goods basket in 2000, finding that the actual poverty threshold, i.e. the point where a person is excluded from the nation's prevailing consumption patterns, is at roughly 170% of the official poverty threshold. According to John Schwarzt, a political scientist at the University of Arizona, The official poverty line today is essentially what it takes in today's dollars, adjusted for inflation, to purchase the same poverty-line level of living that was appropriate to a half century ago, in 1955, for that year furnished the basic data for the formula for the very first poverty measure. Updated thereafter only for inflation, the poverty line lost all connection over time with current consumption patterns of the average family. Quite a few families then didn't have their own private telephone, or a car, or even a mixer in their kitchen.The official poverty line has thus been allowed to fall substantially below a socially decent minimum, even though its intention was to measure such a minimum. The issue of understating poverty is especially pressing in states with both a high cost of living and a high poverty rate such as California where the median home price in May 2006 was determined to be $564,430. With half of all homes being priced above the half million dollar mark and prices in
urban areas such as San Francisco, San Jose or Los Angeles being higher than the state average, it is almost impossible for not just the poor but also lower middle class worker to afford decent housing, and no possibility of home ownership. In the Monterey area, where the low-pay industry of agriculture is the largest sector in the economy and the majority of the population lacks a college education the median home price was determined to be $723,790, requiring an upper middle class income which only roughly 20% of all households in the county boast. Such fluctuations in local markets are however not considered in the Federal poverty threshold and thus leave many who live in poverty-like conditions out of the total number of households classified as poor. Overstating poverty The federal poverty line also excludes income other than cash income, especially welfare benefits. Thus, if food stamps and public housing were successfully raising the standard of living for poverty stricken individuals, then the poverty line figures would not shift since they do not consider the income equivalents of such entitlements. A 1993 study of low income single mothers titled Making Ends Meet, by Kathryn Edin, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that the mothers spent more than their reported incomes because they could not "make ends meet" without such expenditures. According to Edin, they made up the difference through contributions from family members, absent boyfriends, off-the-book jobs, and church charity. According to Edin: "No one avoided the unnecessary expenditures, such as the occasional trip to the Dairy Queen, or a pair of stylish new sneakers for the son who might otherwise sell drugs to get them, or the Cable TV subscription for the kids home alone and you are afraid they will be out on the street if they are not watching TV." Moreover, Swedish free market think tank Timbro point out that lowerincome households in the U.S. tend to own more appliances and larger houses than many middle-income Western Europeans. Fighting poverty There have been many governmental and nongovernmental efforts to make an impact on poverty and its effects. These range in scope from neighborhood efforts to campaigns with a national focus. They target specific groups affected by poverty such as children, people who are autistic,
immigrants, or people who are homeless. Efforts to alleviate poverty use a disparate set of methods, such as advocacy, education, social work, legislation, direct service or charity, and community organizing. Recent debates have centered on the need for policies that focus on both "income poverty" and "asset poverty." Advocates for the approach argue that traditional governmental poverty policies focus solely on supplementing the income of the poor, through programs such as AFCD and Food Stamps. These programs do little, if anything, to help the poor build assets and begin to lift themselves out of poverty. Some have proposed creating a government matched savings plan (similar to the private 401K) system to provide a savings incentive to poor and lower-income individuals and families. Negative income tax - From 1968 to 1979 a massive social experiment was undertaken in the U.S.: The Negative Income Tax Experiments of the 1970s in the USA .The four experiments were in: Urban areas in New Jersey and Pennsylvania from 1968-1972 (1300 families). Rural areas in Iowa and North Carolina from 1969-1973 (800 families). Gary, Indiana from 1971-1974 (1800 families). Seattle and Denver, from 1970-1978 (4800 families). Campaign to Reduce Poverty in the United States Catholic Charities USA released the : "Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America" based on its paper Poverty in America: A Threat to the Common Good in January 2007. From Poverty to Prosperity In April 2007 The Center for American Progress, a think tank, released a report : "From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half". It recommended 12 steps to cut poverty in half by 2017, including raising the minimum wage, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, and promoting unionization by enacting the Employee Free Choice Act.  Marriage Citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau in a 2005 editorial, economist Walter E. Williams of George Mason University wrote that the poverty rate among single-parent black families was 39.5%, while it was only among
married-couple black families. Among white families, the comparable rates were 26.4% and 6%.
China’s economic growth and poverty reduction (1978-2002)
China’s economy has entered the take-off stage since 1978─the average growth rate of per capita GDP has been up to 8.1%.China’s economy has been developed very rapidly. The growth of China’s income per capita is much faster than that of any other region in the world. According to China’s national poverty line, rural poverty population has dropped from 250 million in 1978 to 28.2 million in 2002, decreasing by 88.7%. Poverty population has averagely decreased by 9.24 million per year. According to the international poverty line, which is that cost of living per capita per day is below $1; the World Bank estimates that China’s rural poverty population has dropped from 280 million in 1990 to 124 million in 1997, decreasing by 55.7%. Poverty population has averagely decreased 22.29 million per year. These different estimations demonstrate that China is the country with the largest population and has the largest poverty population, making unprecedented achievements in poverty reduction.
Why can China decrease poverty population by a large margin?
The main reasons are as follows: The continuous high economic growth is the basis of poverty reduction.
The average per capita growth rate of GDP of China is 8.1% in the Period of 1978-2002 which is the period lasting for the longest time with the highest growth rate of GDP per capita and the largest population who benefit from it. This corresponds to doubling per capita GDP every 8.6 years, 5.4 times of global GDP per capita growth rate in the same period (1.5%). According to the estimation made by the World Bank, it took Britain 58 years to double its per capita income (1780-1838), America 47 years (1839-1886), Japan 34 years (1885-1919), South Korea 11 years (1966-1977). In China, the annual growth rate of rural population’s consumption level is 5.6%; the annual growth rate of per capita net income of farmers is 7.2%, corresponding to doubling their per capita income every 9.7 years, which is the major reason leading to China’s great poverty reduction in rural areas. In 1978 nearly 100% peasant household whose per capita net income was below 500 yuan; in 1985 the percentage was 77.7%; in 1990 it was 35%; and in 2001 only 2.5%. In 1985 the percentage of peasant households whose per capita net income was less than 1000 yuan is 97.69%, while in 2001 the ratio has been down to only 13.22% , which shows that the extremely poor and the poor have been sharply decreased.
A Great deal of rural labor force transfers to non-agricultural industries. More and more people are employed in village and township enterprises. The number has increased from 28.27 million in 1978 to 130.86 million in 2001, accounting for 26.7% of total rural work
force, compared with the original ratio 9.2%. In addition, in 2001 38.16 million people work in private rural enterprises or are selfemployed, accounting for 7.7% of total rural employees. The total of the above two ratios is 34.4%, exceeding 1/3 of total rural employed population. Speeding up urbanization. China has experienced the largest population removing in the world since the policy of reform and open-up was carried out. This includes population transference, referring to moving from the place where one originally lives. In China’s case, it refers to transferring one’s household register or transforming from agricultural population to non-agricultural population, directly recruiting personnel for employment from rural areas, such as graduates of junior college, technical secondary school, demobilized servicemen, professional personnel, etc. Population flowing, refers to that the living place remains the same, but the person himself (or herself) has left the place and stridden across a given administrative region, temporarily stayed there, and engaged himself in various activities. The activity of rural labors going to cities for work belongs to the type of population flowing. In the period of 1982-2000, 206,750,000 people have moved from rural to urban areas, equal to 45.0% of total urban population in the same period , and 84.6% of newlyincreased rural population. In the same period, 109,600,000 rural labors move to cities, equal to 45.8% of total town labor force and 94.3% of newly-increased town labor force. From the above we can see that the scales of moving population and labor force are enlarging rapidly. In the 1980s, moving population is 8,140,000 and moving labor force is
4,010,000, while in the 1990s, the number is 14,140,000 and 7,750,000 respectively. Some are agricultural population who transform to nonagricultural population and majority others are rural laborers who go to cities for work. The wage income has become one of the most important sources of framer’s income. The ratio of wage income accounting for their total income has been up to 30.4% in 2001 from 13.2% in 1985, which shows that peasants have partly enjoyed the benefits brought by urbanization and non-agricultural industries. Implementing export-oriented open-up policies. China’s export volume has increased rapidly since the policy of reform and open-up has been carried out, especially the export of labor-intensive products has increased very rapidly, which plays an important role in expanding employment and poverty reduction. The export volume of 2002 is 325.6 billion dollar, increasing by 32 times than that of 1978. The proportion of export volume accounting for GDP has increased rapidly from 4.6% in 1978 to 23.0% in 2001. In addition, China draws foreign investment actively and takes an active part in economic globalization, which is also a way to large poverty reduction; especially the foreign economy in Guangdong and Zhejiang attracts large quantities of surplus agricultural labor force in different areas. The flowing labor force of Guangdong accounts for 39% of that of the whole country.
Human capital has been obviously improved.
The level of people’s education and health condition has been greatly improved since reform, which is useful to human capital
accumulation and plays an important role on improving people’s living standard and poverty reduction. Average educational years of people above 15 years old has been increased to 7.11 years in 2000 from 4.64 years in 1982. The illiterate population has decreased largely, the ratio of which has decreased from 22.8% in 1982 to 6.7% in 2002; the absolutely illiterate population has decreased to 84,920,000 from 231,770,000, of which rural illiterate and semiliterate population has obviously decreased. Infant mortality rate has decreased from 37.61% in 1982 to 28.38% in 2000. The average life expectancy has increased to 71.40 years in 2000 from 67.77 years in 1981. The above demonstrates the important progress in the area of education and medical care, and the complementary relationship between economic and social progress. Anti-poverty actions adopted by the government. China’s government made political commitment to reducing poverty in early 1980s and reflected poverty reduction goals and plans in the national economic plans. With the development of the economy ,the central government’s willingness to aid the poor become stronger and stronger, the input of aiding is also increasing . In order to protect the benefits of the farmers, the government adjusted agricultural policies to increase and loosen the price of agricultural products step by step. As a result, the purchase prices of agricultural products have greatly increased in the 1980s and the middle of the 1990s. In 1996, the price index of agricultural products is 5.5 times as much as that in 1978. The average growth rate per year is 9.9%. In the corresponding period, the retail price index of
rural industrial products is 2.9 times and 6.1 times respectively. The growth rate of farmers’ actual earnings per year (the price index growth rate of agricultural products minus that of industrial Products) is 3.8%.
Some interesting facts related to poverty
At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening. The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for threequarters of world income. According to UNICEF, 26,500-30,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world.
Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.
Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are
estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.If current trends continue, the Millennium Development Goals target of halving the proportion of underweight children will be missed by 30 million children, largely because of slow progress in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa Based on enrolment data, about 72 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not in school in 2005; 57 per cent of them were girls. And these are regarded as optimisitic numbers. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen. Infectious diseases continue to blight the lives of the poor across the world. An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, with 3 million deaths in 2004. Every year there are 350–500 million cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities: Africa accounts for 90 percent of malarial deaths and African children account for over 80 percent of malaria victims worldwide. Survival for children Worldwide
10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same as children population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy) 1.4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation
Health of children Worldwide
2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized 15 million children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS (similar to the total children population in Germany or United Kingdom)
1. Rural areas account for three in every four people living on less than US$1 a day and a similar share of the world population suffering from malnutrition. However, urbanization is not synonymous with human progress. Urban slum growth is outpacing urban growth by a wide margin 2. Approximately half the world’s population now live in cities and towns. In 2005, one out of three urban dwellers (approximately 1 billion people) was living in slum conditions. 3. In developing countries some 2.5 billion people are forced to rely on biomass—fuelwood, charcoal and animal dung—to meet their energy needs for cooking. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 80 percent of the population depends on traditional biomass for cooking, as do over half of the populations of India and China
4. Indoor air pollution resulting from the use of solid fuels [by poorer segments of society] is a major killer. It claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, more than half of them below the age of five: that is 4000 deaths a day. To put this number in context, it exceeds total deaths from malaria and rivals the number of deaths from tuberculosis. 5. In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifth just 1.5%:
The poorest 10% accounted for just 0.5% and the wealthiest 10% accounted for 59% of all the consumption:
6. 1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity: Breaking that down further: Number of people living without electricity Region Millions without electricity South Asia 706 Sub-Saharan Africa 547 East Asia 224 Other 101
7. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s 7 richest people combined. 8. World gross domestic product (world population approximately 6.5 billion) in 2006 was $48.2 trillion in 2006.
The world’s wealthiest countries (approximately 1 billion people) accounted for $36.6 trillion dollars (76%). The world’s billionaires — just 497 people (approximately 0.000008% of the world’s population) — were worth $3.5 trillion (over 7% of world GDP). Low income countries (2.4 billion people) accounted for just $1.6 trillion of GDP (3.3%) Middle income countries (3 billion people) made up the rest of at just over $10 trillion (20.7%). GDP
The world’s low income countries (2.4 billion people) account for just 2.4% of world exports.The total wealth of the top 8.3 million people around the world “rose 8.2 percent to $30.8 trillion in 2004, giving them control of nearly a quarter of the world’s financial assets.”
9. For every $1 in aid a developing country receives, over $25 is spent on debt repayment. 10.51 percent of the world’s 100 hundred wealthiest bodies are corporations. 11.The wealthiest nation on Earth has the widest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation. 12.The poorer the country, the more likely it is that debt repayments are being extracted directly from people who neither contracted the loans nor received any of the money. 13.In 1960, the 20% of the world’s people in the richest countries had 30 times the income of the poorest 20% — in 1997, 74 times as much. 14.An analysis of long-term trends shows the distance between the richest and poorest countries was about:
3 to 1 in 1820 11 to 1 in 1913
• • •
35 to 1 in 1950 44 to 1 in 1973 72 to 1 in 1992
15.“Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished, almost two-thirds of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific. 16.For economic growth and almost all of the other indicators, the last 20 years [of the current form of globalization, from 1980 - 2000] have shown a very clear decline in progress as compared with the previous two decades [1960 - 1980]. For each indicator, countries were divided into five roughly equal groups, according to what level the countries had achieved by the start of the period (1960 or 1980). Among the findings:
Growth: The fall in economic growth rates was most pronounced and across the board for all groups or countries. Life Expectancy: Progress in life expectancy was also reduced for 4 out of the 5 groups of countries, with the exception of the highest group (life expectancy 69-76 years). Infant and Child Mortality: Progress in reducing infant mortality was also considerably slower during the period of globalization (1980-1998) than over the previous two decades. Education and literacy: Progress in education also slowed during the period of globalization.
17.A mere 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and these 12 percent do not live in the Third World. 18.Consider the global priorities in spending in 1998 Global Priority Cosmetics in the United States Ice cream in Europe Perfumes in Europe and the United States Pet foods in Europe and the United States Business entertainment in Japan Cigarettes in Europe Alcoholic drinks in Europe Narcotics drugs in the world Military spending in the world $U.S. Billions 8 11 12 17 35 50 105 400 780
19. And compare that to what was estimated as additional costs to achieve
universal access to basic social services in all developing countries: Global Priority Basic education for all Water and sanitation for all Reproductive health for all women Basic health and nutrition $U.S. Billions 6 9 12 13
Notes and Sources 1. Sources: o Shaohua Chen and Martin Ravallion, The developing world is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty, World Bank, August 2008 o For the 95% on $10 a day, see Martin Ravallion, Shaohua Chen and Prem Sangraula, Dollar a day revisited, World Bank, May 2008. They note that 95% of developing country population lived on less than $10 a day. Using 2005 population numbers, this is equivalent to just under 79.7% of world population, and does not include populations living on less than $10 a day from industrialized nations. This figure is based on purchasing power parity (PPP), which basically suggests that prices of goods in countries tend to equate under floating exchange rates and therefore people would be able to purchase the same quantity of goods in any country for a given sum of money. That is, the notion that a dollar should buy the same amount in all countries. Hence if a poor person in a poor country living on a dollar a day moved to the U.S. with no changes to their income, they would still be living on a dollar a day. The new poverty line of $1.25 a day was recently announced by the World Bank (in 2008). For many years before that it had been $1 a day. But the $1 a day used then would be $1.45 a day now if just inflation was accounted for.
The new figures from the World Bank therefore confirm concerns that poverty has not been reduced by as much as was hoped, although it certainly has dropped since 1981. However, it appears that much of the poverty reduction in the last couple of decades almost exclusively comes from China:
o o o
China’s poverty rate fell from 85% to 15.9%, or by over 600 million people China accounts for nearly all the world’s reduction in poverty Excluding China, poverty fell only by around 10%
The use of the poverty line of $1 a day had long come under criticism for seeming arbitrary and using poor quality and limited data thus risking an underestimate of poverty. The $1.25 a day level is accompanied with some additional explanations and reasoning, including that it is a common level found amongst the poorest countries, and that $2.50 represents a typical poverty level amongst many more developing countries.
The $10 dollar a day figure above is close to poverty levels in the US, so is provided here to give a more global perspective to these numbers, although the World Bank has felt it is not a meaningful number for the poorest because they are unfortunately unlikely to reach that level any time soon.
Reasons for poverty in India
No. Earnings of diffrent types of employees in India 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Average cost of employee* in Air-India Average cost of employee* in MARUTI UDYOG Average cost of employee* in the MUMBAI MUNICIPAL CORP. Average earning of an Indian - US$ 440 per year or about (This is based on a GDP of US$ 440 billion and 1 billion people)
Converted into Rs./month Rs. 53,000 Rs. 24,000 Rs. 16,000
Minimum starting salary in the FIRE Dept. in Mumbai Rs. 7,000 Rs. 1,727
Minimum earning required, as per WORLD BANK, to Rs. 1,410 live at above poverty line, for underdeveloped countries like India, China etc, about US$ 1.0 per day or US$ 30 per month MINIMUM WAGES, as per Government of India, for all the States, about Rs. 40 to 60 per day per person, average about Rs. 50 per day. For 25 days per month Rs. 1,250
POVERTY LINE definition, as per Government of Rs. 300 India, see below for explanation, at Rs. 10 per day, per person, approx. Other related & relevant data In millions, people About 300 million (30 Cr.)
Number of people, in India, who are below poverty line
10. Number of people, in India, who work in the organized About 19 Public Sector, i.e. with the Central and State govt. million (1.9.) 11. Number of people, in India, who work in the organized About 8 million Private Sector (0.8 Cr.) 12. Number of people, in India, who work in the unorganized Sector 13. Number of people, in India, who are unemployed approximately About 320 million (32 Cr.) About 300 million (30 Cr.)
14. Number of JOBS which need to be created every year, About 10 to fulfill the aspirations of the people of India million/yr. (1 Cr.) 15. Number of people BORN every year in India (China is About 27 only 10 million per yea million/yr. (2.7 Cr.) 16. Number of people, in India, who are below 35 years of About 700
Causes of poverty in India
Rural life in rajasthan
Slum shacks and a rubbish-laden river, with a child in the middle, in the Indian Himalayas.
In summary, the official poverty rates recorded by NSS : Year Round Poverty Rate (%) Poverty Reduction per year(%) 51.3 44.5 38.9 1.3 1.2
1977-78 32 1983 38
1993-94 50 1999-00 55 2004-05 61
36.0 26.9 27.5
0.5 7.4 0.8
History of attempts to alleviate poverty Since the early 1950s, government has initiated, sustained, and refined various planning schemes to help the poor attain self sufficiency in food production. Probably the most important initiative has been the supply of basic commodities, particularly food at controlled prices, available throughout the country as poor spend about 80 percent of their income on foodOutlook for poverty alleviation Eradication of poverty in India is generally only considered to be a longterm goal. Poverty alleviation is expected to make better progress in the next 50 years than in the past, as a trickle-down effect of the growing middle class. Increasing stress on education, reservation of seats in government jobs and the increasing empowerment of women and the economically weaker sections of society, are also expected to contribute to the alleviation of poverty. It is incorrect to say that all poverty reduction programmes have failed. The growth of the middle class (which was virtually non-existent when India became a free nation in August 1947) indicates that economic prosperity has indeed been very impressive in India, but the distribution of wealth is not at all even. After the liberalization process and moving away from the socialist model, India is adding 60-70 million people to its middle class every year. Analysts such as the founder of "Forecasting International", Marvin J. Cetron writes that an estimated 390 million Indians now belong to the middle class; onethird of them have emerged from poverty in the last ten years. At the current rate of growth, a majority of Indians will be middle-class by 2025. Literacy rates have risen from 52 percent to 65 percent during the initial decade of liberalization (1991-2001).[ Controversy over extent of poverty reduction
While total overall poverty in India has declined, the extent of poverty reduction is often debated. While there is a consensus that there has not been increase in poverty between 1993-94 and 2004-05, the picture is not so clear if one considers other non-pecuniary dimensions (such as health, education, crime and access to infrastructure). With the rapid economic growth that India is experiencing, it is likely that a significant fraction of the rural population will continue to migrate toward cities, making the issue of urban poverty more significant in the long run . Economist Pravin Visaria has defended the validity of many of the statistics that demonstrated the reduction in overall poverty in India, as well as the declaration made by India's former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha that poverty in India has reduced significantly. He insisted that the 1999-2000 survey was well designed and supervised and felt that just because they did not appear to fit preconceived notions about poverty in India, they should not be dismissed outright. Nicholas Stern, vice president of the World Bank, has published defenses of the poverty reduction statistics. He argues that increasing globalization and investment opportunities have contributed significantly to the reduction of poverty in the country. India, together with China, have shown the clearest trends of globalization with the accelerated rise in per-capita income.. A 2007 report by the state-run National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) found that 77% of Indians, or 836 million people, lived on less than 20 rupees per day (USD 0.50 nominal, USD 2.0 in PPP), with most working in "informal labour sector with no job or social security, living in abject poverty." A study by the McKinsey Global Institute found that in 1985, 93% of the Indian population lived on a household income of less than 90,000 rupees a year, or about a dollar per person per day; by 2005 that proportion had been cut nearly in half, to 54%. More than 103 million people have moved out of desperate poverty in the course of one generation in urban and rural areas as well. They project that if India can achieve 7.3% annual growth over the next 20 years, 465 million more people will be spared a life of extreme deprivation. Contrary to popular perceptions, rural India has benefited from this growth: extreme rural poverty has declined from 94% in 1985 to 61% in 2005, and they project that it will drop to 26% by 2025. Report concludes that India's economic reforms and the increased growth that has resulted have been the most successful anti-poverty programmes in the country.
In New Delhi, a woman wields pickaxe on a footpath maintenance project while her husband takes a break and her baby sleeps
Women washing clothes in ditch alongside main road in Mumbai
Slums adjoining the railway tracks at Bandra station in mumbai
A beggar in India, it shows the high level of poverty in India.
IS SOCIAL SECURITY A SOLUTION- A US
T he term "social security" originally described any program intended to help people with limited financial resources. These people can include the poor, the physically disabled, the mentally ill and the elderly. European trade guilds had the first such programs, with government sponsored "poor laws" coming later.
The Great Depression of the 1930s brought into sharp focus the need for a comprehensive system to provide enough money to the poor and elderly so that they could live independently. Millions of Americans had no job or couldn't earn enough money to feed their families. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in as President with the Depression in full swing. He proposed an idea known as social insurance. This idea would eventually develop into the Social Security system of today Over the decades, the U.S. government has adjusted the SSA retirementassistance system to cope with changes in the population and the economic situation. Among other changes, families of workers were made eligible to receive payments; cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, were added so that Social Security benefits could increase along with inflation without requiring a major act of Congress; and disability provisions were added to the program.
A modern Social Security card showing the placeholder name of Jane Doe.
Social Security in the United States currently refers to the federal Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. The original Social Security Act and the current version of the Act, as amended encompass several social welfare or social insurance programs. The larger and better known initiatives of the program are:
• • • •
Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Unemployment benefits Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Health Insurance for Aged and Disabled (Medicare) Tax deposits are formally entrusted to Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance.
EVALUATION OF THE POPULATION POLICY The population policy can be evaluated in terms of failures and achievements of the policy. The population policy of the government has failed to a certain extent to control the growth of population, and to improve the quality of population. However there are certain achievements that can be credited to this policy. Limitations/ Failures:-
• Overemphasis on contraceptives: There has been too much emphasis on the use of contraceptives to control population. There is high growth of population especially among the poorer sections of the society both in rural and urban areas. Mr. B.R.Sen asserts that the major cause of our population problem is poverty. Therefore, if population problem is to be solved, then special attention must be given to poverty eradication measures, particularly in rural areas. Attention must be given to health care with a special focus on reducing infant morality, and also on education. States such as Kerela and Goa, where there is high level of literacy and better health care, the population growth is on decline as compared to other states. Therefore the highly populated States need to learn from the experience of low growth population States. • Lack of Political will: There has been lack of political will to take hard decisions relating to population control. For instance, the Government could have implemented disincentives such as debarring from government jobs, or in contesting elections etc., to those persons who have only two children. • Low Plan Outlay: The government of India had allocated low outlay for family welfare programmes. For instance, it was below 2% of the total plan outlay during the ninth plan. In order to control the rapid growth of population, the plan outlay could have been higher at around 3%.
• Problem of Literacy: The problem of female literacy, especially in the highly populated states like Bihar, UP, and Rajasthan is responsible for the high birth rate. Apart from low literacy, there exist social and religious conditions, which do not discourage the growth of population. • Poor Coordination: Poor coordination between the central government and the state governments as far as the implementation of the family welfare programmes. Even at the local level there has been poor monitoring of family welfare programmes by the state government. As a result, there has been poor implementation of family welfare schemes by government authorities. • Poor Implementations of Campaigns: There has been poor implementation of family welfare Campaigns in rural areas, especially in highly backward areas, where a good number of poor people live and have large size families. Achievements: The objectives of population policy is not just to control the rapid growth of population, but also to improve the quality of life of the people in terms of improvement in literacy, and life expectancy. The following are the achievements of population policies, adopted since independence in India
Fall in Birth Rate: birth rate has come down from 40/1000 in 1951 to 25.4/1000 in 2001 Fall in Death Rate:
The death rate has come down from 27/1000 in 1951 to 8.4/1000 in 2001 • Decline in Growth Rate of Population: The growth rate of population has come down from 2.2% in 1971 to 1.7% in 2001. • Small Family Concept: The small family concept is being adopted by a good number of families, especially among the middle class and upper class. The family planning programmes have created awareness of the importance of smallsize families, especially in urban areas. In urban area, the dual career couples adopt the DISK or the DINK concepts. • Improvement in Literacy: The literacy level has increased from 18% in 1951 to 65% in 2001. This has resulted in low birth rates, especially in the middle class and upper class families. • Decline in Infant Mortality Rate: Better medical facilities and awareness have resulted in low infant mortality rates from 146/1000 in 1951 to 64/1000 in 2001.
• Improvement in Life Expectancy: The population policy has also resulted in improvement in life expectancy from 32 years in 1951 to 65 years in 2001 due to better health and medical care.
• Decline in Total Fertility Rate: The total fertility rate refers to the average number of children born per woman. The total fertility rate has declined from about 6 in 1951 to 3 in 2001. • Increase in Couple Protection Rate: The percentage of couples effectively protected in reproductive age group has significantly gone up from 10.4% in 1971 to 48.2% in 1999.
Conclusion: Although some progress is being made to contain population, yet the result are not very satisfactory, and India’s population is growing at an
alarming rate. The government has to take serious and sincere measures to contain population growth in order to bring about social and economic development in the country. Poverty is restriction and as such, it is the greatest injustice you can perpetrate upon yourself.