Poverty Alleviation Programs
Today, I will write about the Indian Government programs for the removal of poverty. We have already done the meaning of Poverty and the causes behind poverty. You can click on ‘poverty‘ and ‘causes behind poverty‘ to revise it again if required. So, let’s begin to learn more.
What Do We Mean By Poverty Alleviation Programs?
Poverty means being poor and unable to meet the basic needs for survival, alleviation means removal. So, when we say poverty alleviation programs, it means the approaches to eradicate or remove poverty. The Indian government’s approach to poverty reduction was of three dimensions, as shown below:
- The Growth-Oriented Approach
- Specific Poverty Alleviation Programs.
- Meeting The Minimum Needs of The Poor Programs.
One-by-one, I will discuss each of these schemes in detail:
The Growth-Oriented Approach
- The growth-oriented approach is based on the expectations that the effects of economic growth would spread to all the sections of the society and will reach down to the poor sections as well.
- The rapid industrial development and infrastructural development of the agricultural sector took place.
- The green revolution was encouraged to increase crop production especially in the backward sections of the community.
- Some problems associated with this program were related to high population growth which led to low growth in per capita income.
- Also, the gap between rich and poor started widening, especially the green revolution led to an increase in this gap, because small farmers were not able to afford high yielding variety seeds.
Specific Poverty Alleviation Programs
- This approach was more focus as compared to the growth-oriented approach. It contains a problem-specific solution program. This approach started in the third planning period 1961-66.
- Under this approach, providing self-employment and wage-employment are considered to be the major ways of addressing poverty. We will look at some of the major-specific poverty alleviation programs:
- Rural Employment Guarantee Program (REGP)- This program started on 1 April 1995. It focussed on creating self-employment opportunities in rural areas. This program was started by Khadi & Village Industries Commission. Under this program, one can get financial help in the form of bank loans, to set up small industries that generate employment.
- Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana(PMRY)- This program started on 15 August 1993. It focussed on creating self-employment for the educated unemployed youth in rural and urban areas, by providing them financial help to set up enterprises that generate employment under Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana. Note: Rural Employment Guarantee Program and Prime Minister Rozar Yojana have been merged into the Prime Minister Employment Generation Program(PMEGP)
- Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana(SJSRY)- This program started on 1 December 1997. It focussed on creating employment opportunities for both self-employment and wage employment in urban areas. The cost of this program is shared between the center and state in the ratio of 75:25. Note: Two schemes were started under this program; Urban Self Employment Program and Urban Wage Employment Program.
- Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana(SGSY)- This program started in April 1999 and it is a self-employment program. It focussed on encouraging micro-enterprises and to bring the assisted poor families above the poverty line, by organizing them into Self-Help Groups(SHGs). Under this program, people who wished to benefit from this scheme are encouraged to form SHGs. Initially, they are encouraged to save some money and lend among themselves as small loans. Later. through banks, the Government provides partial financial assistance to SHGs for self-employment activities. Note: This program is now called the National Rural Livelihood Mission(NRLM).
- Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana(SGRY)- This program started in September 2001. It focussed on providing wage-employment to poor unskilled workers in rural areas. This program encourages labor-intensive work among rural people who are willing to give manual or unskilled services.
- National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(NREGA)- This program started in 2005. It focussed to provide guaranteed wage employment to every household, one adult for a minimum of 100 days in a year. This act includes the National Food for Work Program(NFFWP). It is 100% centrally financed program implemented in 150 backward districts of the country to generate wage employment.
Meeting The Minimum Needs of The Poor
- This is the third approach to address the problem of poverty by providing the minimum basic amenities to the people.
- India was the first in the world to spent through public expenditure on social consumption needs such as providing food grains at lower rates, education, health, water supply, and sanitation, to improve people’s living standards.
- Three major programs, that aimed at improving the food and nutritional status of the poor are Public Distribution System(PDS), Integrated Child Development Scheme(ICDS), and Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
- The government also started other social security programs to help a few specific groups.
- For example; the National Social Assistance Program started by the Central government. Under this program, elderly people who do not have anyone to take care of them are given pension to sustain themselves. Poor women who are destitute (Extremely poor) are also covered under this scheme.
Check out the slideshow below on poverty: