Problem of Poverty : Meaning, Types, Causes, Control Measure, Effects

Problem of Poverty : Meaning, Types, Causes, Control Measure, Effects

Problem of Poverty Essay, Speech : Even after 70 years of Independence, poverty remains the most serious problem that India faces. India still has the world’s largest number of poor people dwelling on its land. Of its population of more than 12 billion, an estimated 444 million are below poverty line, out of which 61% dwell in rural areas of the country.Most of them are daily workers, landless labourers and self-employed householders.

Meaning of Poverty

There are several ways of defining poverty. Poverty is maybe defined as lack of minimum food and shelter which is necessary for maintaining life.The word ‘Poverty’ also means the state of being destitute. It is a situation where people’s basic needs such as food, clothes, and shelter are not being met. It is a state or condition of having little or no money, goods or any means of support. When family lacks these basic amenities, it is considered poor. Some define poverty as a condition of chronic insufficiency. Further, it is a condition in which a person is not able to lead a life according to the desirable standard of society.




Problem of Poverty : Meaning, Types, Causes, Control Measure, Effects
Problem of Poverty

Poverty is related to richness. It’s only when people feel resentment at their lot as compared with that of others that they feel the sting of poverty. They regard themselves as poor when they feel deprived of what others enjoy and possess. It is then that poverty becomes the social problem and its deeply rooted wound that permeates every dimension of culture and society. It includes a lack of access to services like education, markets, health care, lack of decision-making ability, and lack of communal facilities like water, sanitation, roads, electricity, transportation, and communications. Furthermore, it is a “poverty of spirit, ” that allows members of that community to believe in and share despair, hopelessness, apathy, and timidity. Poverty, especially the factors that contribute to it, is a social problem, and its solution is social.

A major percentage of our population is illiterate, tribal and scheduled castes particularly being affected in large numbers.Today one in every three persons living in abject poverty all over the world is an Indian.Poverty is a situation, which gives rise to the discrepancy between what one has and what one should have.Berstein Henry identifies a few dimensions of poverty such as lack of livelihood strategies, inaccessibility to resources like money, land or credit, feeling of insecurity or frustration and inability to maintain and develop social relations due to lack of resources.The three things that are usually used to define the concept of poverty are-the amount of money required by a person to sustain, the life below a minimum subsistence level and the living standard prevalent at the time, and the comparative state of well-being of a few and the deprivation of the majority in the society.The first two concepts refer to economic dimensions of poverty whereas the last one to its social needs.



In terms of gratification the basic physiological needs, poverty is measured in terms of an imaginary ‘poverty line’. The poverty line servers as a cut-off line for separating poor from not-poor, given the size distribution of population by per capita consumer expenditure classes. Population with per capita consumer expenditure levels below the level defined by poverty line is counted as poor.Poverty is the most serious problem of the rural people in India. Vast majority of our villagers live below poverty line. According to experts, 30% of rural people all over the world are poverty stricken. In India it is much more.

Types of Poverty

There are two types of poverty, namely. (i) Abject Poverty and (ii) Relative Poverty.

Abject Poverty

It is a condition in which a person has nothing to eat, wear or no proper housing.

Relative Poverty

It means that as compared with other particular society, a person is lacking certain things. For Example, poverty in the United States (as different from India) may mean that a person is not having many cars or TV sets as others in that society are having.

Causes of Problem of Poverty

Poverty is an exceptional complicated social phenomenon and trying to discover its causes is equally complicated.In this culture of poverty, which passes from one generation to the another generation -the poor feel negative, inferior, passive, hopeless and powerless.

The major cause of this poverty is not the low rate of economic growth.In fact, statistics reveals that economic prosperity has indeed been very impressive in but it is the distribution of wealth that has been uneven and has caused the problem of poverty.Another major cause of poverty is illiteracy along with unbridled population growth.The population explosion has in fact nullified the effect of economic progress made by the country in past half century. The main causes of poverty are illiteracy and the lopsided economic development of the country. Illiteracy gives rise to the problem of overpopulation and unemployment which in turn aggravates the vicious cycle of poverty.The uneducated masses in turn fail to contribute profitably to the economic growth of the country.Apart from this, landlessness, sickness, illiteracy and ignorance, extravagance, unhealthy habits, natural calamities, unemployment and underemployment, overpopulation, lack of supporting industries is also the cause of poverty.

India’s growth rate has been around 7-8% but the growth and development has failed to reach to the grass root level.Eradication of poverty can only be a very long-term goal in India.Poverty alleviation is expected to make better progress in 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, empowerment of women and economically weaker session of society, are also expected to contribute to the alleviation of poverty.Presence of massive parallel economy in the form of black (hidden)money stashed in overseas tax heavens and underutilisation of foreign aid have also contributed to the slow pace of poverty alleviation in India.

Role of Government in Eradicating Poverty Problem

The government of India has been trying its best to remove poverty.Government of India has introduced many schemes from time to time.Some of the measures which the government has taken to remove rural poverty are Small Farmers Development Programme, Draught Prone Area Development Program, Training for Self-Employment, Integrated Rural Development Program(IRDP), Minimum Needs Program, National Rural Employment Program , Digital India Program, Make in India Program.Apart from these, the government has also taken initiative to implement various programs like Jawahar Rozgar Yojna, Nehru Rozgar Yojna, Self-Employment to Educated unemployment Youth, Small and cottage Industry, Development of Organised Sector, Employment Exchange, Employment Guarantee Scheme, Development of Animal Husbandry and Agriculture, Employment Assurance Scheme, Prime Minister Rozgar Yojna (PMRY), Prime Minster’s Integrated Urban Poverty Eradication Program (PMIUPP), Self-Employment Program, The Swaran Jayanti Rozgar Yojana, Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojna, Urban Basic Services for the poor Program and National Social Assistance Program.

The number of poverty is expected to reduce to 20.3% or 268 million people by the year 2020.But poverty still remains gasping at the nation.This is due to the fact that despite the efforts of government, the benefits of these policies have failed to reach to the poorest of the poor and downtrodden.This may be due to corruption, illiteracy, population explosion etc. All these problems are somewhere or the other inter-related.Failure in one automatically leads to failure of another.

Factors Responsible for Poverty

(1) Incapacity of the individual

(2) Unfavourable physical conditions

(3) Misdistribution of wealth

(4) Backwardness of Agriculture

Effects of Poverty

The effects of poverty are serious.It can be felt at every level of society — from the individual living in poverty to the political leader attempting to provide solutions. Whether it is health conditions or increased crime rates, poverty reaches just about every aspect of life. Those children who grow up in poverty suffer the most persistent, frequent, and sever health problems than those children who grow up under better financial circumstances.Many infants who are born in poverty have a low birth weight, which is followed by many preventable mental and physical disabilities.There are also infants who even die before their first birthday.Children raised in poverty tend to miss School more often because of illness.These children are likely to have impaired vision and hearing than normal, iron deficiency and higher than normal levels of lead in the blood, which can impair brain function. These children are less likely to receive proper nutrition and immunisation.

Levels of stress in the family have also been shown to correlate with economic circumstances.Poor families experience much more stress than the middle class families. Besides this-Malnutrition, Health, Education, Economy and Society are five biggest ‘effects of poverty’, which has pushed the country back as compared to many emerging nations.

Control Measures of Problem of Poverty

In developing countries rich are becoming richer and poor are becoming poorer. Without the active cooperation of citizens and political leaders of the country, poverty cannot be eradicated from India. A conducive political and social atmosphere is a necessary condition for eradicating poverty from its root.In Order to combat this grave problem, first and foremost there should be a strict check on population increase.Creation of more employment opportunities, development of supporting occupations, family welfare programs, fixing minimum wages, better marketing facilities, prohibitions, social security scheme, land reforms, spread of education, elimination of black money, decentralisation of planning, minimum needs program, establishment of small scale industries, uplift of agriculture, helping women and youth to become self-reliant are some of the other ways to combat this problem.It is not due to lack of resources and technical assistance that we are failing in achieving our goal but more so due to lack of execution of these plans and programs.One should note that poverty is not a cause, but it is the result of various other problems, which need to be catered to alleviate the poverty.Poverty is not just economic upliftment of the masses, but it is also a social and political overtone, which is needed to be looked at, to make people socially and politically aware of the problems currently facing the country.

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