Chapter – 3 Poverty as a challenge

Table of Contents

Chapter – 3 Poverty as a challenge

Answer the following question:

Q No. 1) What do you mean by poverty?

Answer –

Poverty is the state in which an individual or a group of people are not being able to fulfil their basic requirements like food, clothing, shelter, etc.

Q No. 2) When does a person consider poor?

Answer –

A person is considered poor if his or her income or consumption level falls below a given “minimum level” necessary to fulfil basic needs.

Q No. 3) What is the poverty line?

Answer –

Each country uses an imaginary line that is considered appropriate for its existing level of development and its accepted minimum social norms. This imaginary line is called the poverty line.

Q No. 4) “Poverty line varies with time and place.” Support the statement.

Answer –

The cost of living is different for different countries. Economically developed countries have higher levels of income, so their poverty line will be higher than the under- developed or developing countries.

Similarly, as time passes on, the average income of a country or the cost of living in the same place will change which causes variation in the poverty line.

  • For example, people having a car in the US may not be considered rich but in India people owing are considered rich. Similarly, the value of goods we get at present at a certain price, may not be able to get that same value with the same amount of money after a few years.

Q No. 5) Describe how the poverty line is estimated in India.

Answer –

  • While determining the poverty line in India, a minimum level of food requirement, clothing, footwear, fuel and light, educational and medical requirement, etc., are determined for subsistence.
  • These physical quantities are multiplied by their prices in rupees.
  • The present formula for food requirement while estimating the poverty line is based on the desired calorie requirement.

Q No. 6) What is the average accepted calorie requirement in India?

Answer –

The accepted average calorie requirement in India is 2400 calories per person per day in rural areas and 2100 calories per person per day in urban areas.

Q No. 7) What is the poverty line set up by India as per the census of 2011-12?

Answer –

For the year 2011–12, the poverty line for a person was fixed at Rs 816 per month for rural areas and Rs 1000 for urban areas.

Q No. 8) As per the census of 2011-12, what should be the income level in India to be considered below or above the poverty line?

Answer –

In the year 2011-12, a family of five members living in rural areas and earning less than about Rs 4,080 per month will be below the poverty line. A similar family in the urban areas would need a minimum of Rs 5,000 per month to meet their basic requirements.

Q No. 9) Who conducts surveys for estimating the poverty line in India?

Answer –

The poverty line is estimated periodically (normally every five years) by conducting sample surveys. These surveys are carried out by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO).

Q No. 10) What poverty line is set by the World Bank?

Answer –

For making comparisons between developing countries, World Bank use a uniform standard for the poverty line which is minimum availability of the equivalent of $1.90 per person per day (2011, PPP).

* PPP – Purchase Power Parity(PPP) is the conversion rate of the currency of any country to the currency of another country such that it would buy the same amount of goods or service in each of these countries.

Q No. 11) Who are considered vulnerable among social and economic groups?

Answer –

Social groups, which are most vulnerable to poverty are Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe households. Similarly, among the economic groups, the most vulnerable groups are the rural agricultural labour households and the urban casual labour households.

Q No. 12) What are the causes of poverty in India?

Answer –

There were a number of causes for the widespread poverty in India. Such as –

  • One historical reason is the low level of economic development under the British colonial administration.
  • The low rate of growth persisted until the nineteen-eighties. This resulted in fewer job opportunities and a low growth rate of income.
  • The high growth rate of the population.
  • The number of job seekers is always more than the number of jobs.
  • Huge income inequalities arise due to the unequal distribution of land and other resources.

Q No. 13) Explain the socio-cultural and economic factors responsible for poverty in India.

Answer –

In order to fulfil social obligations and observe religious ceremonies, people in India, including the very poor, spend a lot of money.

Small farmers need money to buy agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizer, pesticides etc. Since poor people hardly have any savings, they borrow. Unable to repay, they become victims of indebtedness.

Q No. 14) Describe the current government strategy of poverty alleviation.

Answer –

The current anti-poverty strategy of the government is based broadly on two planks –

  • Promotion of economic growth –

There is a strong link between economic growth and poverty reduction. Economic growth widens opportunities and provides the resources needed to invest in human development.

  • To introduce targeted anti-poverty programmes like MGNREGA (2005), PMRY (1993), etc.

Q No. 15) Write a short note on MGNREGA Act, 2005.


What are the main features of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005?

Answer –

  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 aims to provide 100 days of wage employment to every household to ensure livelihood security in rural areas.
  • It also aimed at sustainable development to address the cause of drought, deforestation and soil erosion.
  • One-third of the proposed jobs have been reserved for women.
  • The scheme provided employment for 220 crore person days of employment to 4.78 crore households.
  • The share of SC, ST and Women person days in the scheme is 23 per cent, 17 per cent and 53 per cent respectively.
  • The average wage has increased from 65 in 2006–07 to 132 in 2013–14.
  • Recently, in March 2018, the wage rate for unskilled manual workers has been revised, state wise, the range of wage rate for different states and union territories lies between ₹ 281 per day (for the workers in Haryana) to ₹ 168 per day (for the workers of Bihar and Jharkhand).

Q No. 16) Give an account of interstate disparities of poverty in India.

Answer –

  • The proportion of poor people is not the same in every state in India.
  • While All India Head Count Ratio (HCR) was 21.9 per cent in 2011-12 states like Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha had above all India poverty level, Bihar and Odisha continue to be the two poorest states with poverty ratios of 33.7 and 32.6 per cent respectively.
  • Along with rural poverty, urban poverty is also high in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
  • In comparison, there has been a significant decline in poverty in Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengal.
  • States like Punjab and Haryana have traditionally succeeded in reducing poverty with the help of high agricultural growth rates.
  • Kerala has focused more on human resource development.
  • In West Bengal, land reform measures have helped in reducing poverty.
  • In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, public distribution of food grains could have been responsible for the improvement.

Q No. 17) Describe global poverty trends.

Answer –

  • The proportion of people in different countries living in extreme economic poverty has fallen from 36 per cent in 1990 to 10 per cent in 2015.
  • Although there has been a substantial reduction in global poverty, it is marked with great regional differences.
  • Poverty declined substantially in China and Southeast Asian countries as a result of rapid economic growth and massive investments in human resource development.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, poverty shows a slow decline.
  • Poverty has also resurfaced in some of the former socialist countries like Russia, where officially it was non-existent earlier.

Q No. 18) Who are the poorest of the poor?

Answer –

In poor families all suffer, but some suffer more than others. In some cases, women, elderly people and female infants are denied equal access to resources available to the family.

So, they are considered the poorest of the poor.

Q No. 19) What do you understand by human poverty?

Answer –

Human poverty is the state in which a large number of people may have been able to feed themselves, but they lack human capabilities like literacy, nourishment, shelter, self-dignity, etc.

Poverty is about a “minimum” subsistence level of living but human poverty is about the “reasonable” level of living.

Q No. 20) Describe poverty trends in India since 1973.

Answer –

The poverty ratio in India drops from about 56 % in 1973 to about 45 per cent in 1993-94 to 37.2 per cent in 2004–05 and it was about 22 per cent in 2011–12.

Although the percentage of people living in poverty declined in the earlier two decades (1973–1993), the number of poor declined from 407 million in 2004–05 to 270 million in 2011–12 with an average annual decline of 2.2 percentage points during 2004–05 to 2011–12.

Q. No. 21) Briefly discuss the causes of poverty.

Answer –

The causes of poverty in India are –

  1. One of the reasons is the low level of economic development under the British colonial administration. The policies of the colonial government ruined traditional handicrafts and discouraged the development of industries like textiles.
  2. The low rate of growth persisted until the nineteen-eighties. This resulted in fewer job opportunities and a low growth rate of income.
  3. Another reason is the high growth rate of the population. This combined with low growth rate of income makes the growth rate of per capita income very low. The failure at both the fronts: promotion of economic growth and population control perpetuated the cycle of poverty.
  4. Number of job seekers is always higher than the number of jobs available. Unable to find well-paid and secured jobs, they started to do jobs with irregular and low levels of income. This traps them in the cycle of poverty.
  5. Another cause is the huge income inequality which is caused due to the unequal distribution of land and other resources.

Q. No 22) Describe the work of a farmer with 1 hectare of land. (NCERT)

Answer –

As 1 hectare of land is a very small plot to do commercial farming, the farmers can do subsistence farming only.

In subsistence farming–

  1. the farmers can produce only that much amount of yield which would satisfy the needs of their family.
  2. traditionally, low levels of technology are used.
  3. members of the farmer’s family mainly worked in the field.
  4. low level of income.

Q. No. 23) How did the spread of electricity help farmers in Palampur? (NCERT)

Answer –

Electricity came early to Palampur and did a major impact in transforming the system of irrigation. Till then, Persian wheels were used by farmers to draw water from the wells and irrigate small fields. People saw that the electric-run tubewells could irrigate much larger areas of land more effectively.

Thus, with the arrival of electricity, farmers of Palampur got a well-developed system of irrigation which enable them to grow three different crops in a year and help them to increase their level of income.

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