Causes of rural poverty and Anti poverty schemes in India

As per the Eleventh National Development Plan of India more than 300 million people in India are poor. With great efforts, India has managed to reduce the number of poor from 55% in 1973 to about 27% (326 million poor) in 2004. According to the recent estimates (2011-12), 216.5 million people in rural areas are poor. And still, close to one third of the total population in India lives below the poverty line and majority of poor lives in villages and rural India. India’s the poorest state is Chhattisgarh where 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. 61% of poor population of India lives in seven states i.e. Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Though 30% of rural population lives in a chronic condition of poverty but in the last three decades some improvement in the number has been seen because of anti-poverty schemes and migration from rural to urban areas. Scheduled castes and tribes are the worst sufferers of rural poverty. Recently the Planning Commission has also revised the poverty line for rural as well as urban areas. The new poverty line for rural areas is Rs 27 and for urban areas it is Rs 30 per day.

Rural economy massively relies on agriculture. But farming in India depends upon unpredictable monsoon leading to erratic yield. Hence water shortage, bad weather conditions and reoccurring droughts are also the reasons of poverty in rural areas.  Extreme poverty compels many farmers to commit suicide. Many rural areas are so poor that these even lack the basic facilities of sanitation, infrastructure, communication, and education. The rural economy is becoming stagnate and with this India’s overall economy is not growing at a pace with which it should be. There is not just a one cause of poverty but many which lead to the vivacious cycle of poverty. Let us find out more.

Causes of Rural Poverty

Geographical factor

In certain rural areas geographical factors create conditions which lead to poverty. One of the most prominent geographical factors in India is unpredictable monsoons and weather which impact the crop production and yield. Natural calamities like flood, drought, cyclones etc take their own toll and damage the crop, livestock and land. Heavy loss is caused by these results in poverty. For an example, recent Cyclone Phailin has caused an extreme damage in the Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. This has led to a much talked about onion price rise.

Personal factors

Believe it or not but your economic status is defined by what you do and what you are determined to do. There are many personal factors that lead to poverty. One of these is sickness. Due to poverty families do not get enough food to eat and thus lack in immunity. They become prone to many diseases. So whatsoever they earn is utilized in the treatment of the same. Sickness in turn leads to more poverty. It is rightly said that “Poverty and sickness form a vicious partnership each helping the other to add to the miseries of most unfortunate of mankind.”

Laziness and not willing to work is another major reason of poverty in India. People just do not want to work. Even in urban areas you might have come across beggars who are in good health but are not willing to work even if given some. They need easy money.

Addiction to drinking, drugs and other social evils add to rural poverty. These are enough to make the entire family poor.

Biological factors

Rapid growth in population also leads to poverty in rural India. Much developed medical and healthcare facilities in India have reduced the overall death rate but yet birthrate has not been controlled with effectiveness. Big families and limited resources result in poverty.

Economic factors

Rural India depends upon agriculture for everything. But most of the farmers still rely on primitive methods of agriculture. With this the annual produce is often very less. Moreover agriculture sector in India is still underdeveloped to provide enough jobs.

Faulty supply chain and mismanagement cause the farmers to suffer the most. People at the top of the supply chain earn the maximum benefit of the farmer’s hard work. But it should be another way round to uplift the rural India and to eradicaterural poverty.

Major Anti Poverty programmes

Integrated Rural Development Programme/Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna was started in 1980 with an objective of all round development of rural poor. Self employment was emphasized through IRDP.

Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) was started in 2001 with an objective of providing employment for the rural poor.

Pradhanmantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY) was started in 2000 and its main focus was village level development especially in five areas including primary health, primary education, housing, rural roads and drinking water and nutrition.

National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) initiated in 2006 for providing legal guarantee for 100 days of wage employment. Providing employment and creating asset were the main objective of this scheme.

Antidaya Anna Yojana initiated in 2000 with an objective of providing food securities to poor families.

National Housing Bank Voluntary Deposit Scheme started in 1991 to make use of black money for constructing low cost housing for the poor.

Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) started in 1982 for providing appropriate opportunities of self employment to the rural women living below the poverty line.

Jan Shree Bima Yojana initiated in 2000 for providing insurance security to people living below poverty line.

Shiksha Sahyog Yojana started in 2001 for providing education to children living below poverty line.


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