Poverty in India

April 5, 2010Indiaby EconomyWatch Content


 Poverty in India is a major issue. Rural Indians depend on unpredictable agriculture incomes, while urban Indians rely on jobs that are, at best, scarce.

Since its independence, the issue of poverty within India has remained a prevalent concern. As of 2010, more than 37% of India’s population of 1.35 billion still lives below the poverty line. More than 22% of the entire rural population and 15% of the urban population of India exists in this difficult physical and financial predicament. 

Poverty Situation

The division of resources, as well as wealth, is uneven in India - this disparity creates different poverty ratios for different states. For instance, states such as Delhi and Punjab have low poverty ratios. On the other hand, almost half the population in states like Bihar and Orissa live below the poverty line.

A number of factors are responsible for poverty in the rural areas of India. Rural populations primarily depend on agriculture, which is highly dependant on rain patterns and the monsoon season. Inadequate rain and improper irrigation facilities can obviously cause low, or in some cases, zero production of crops.

Additionally, the Indian family unit is often large, which can amplify the effects of poverty. Also, the caste system still prevails in India, and this is a major reason for rural poverty - people from the lower casts are often deprived of the most basic facilities and opportunities. The government has planned and implemented poverty eradication programs, but the benefits of these programs are yet to bear fruits.


Increasing Poverty in India

The phenomenal increase in population in the cities is one of the main reasons for poverty in the urban areas of India. A major portion of this additional population is due to the large scale migration of rural families from villages to cities. This migration is mainly attributed to poor employment opportunities in villages.

Since 1970, the Indian government has implemented a number of programs designed to eradicate poverty, and has had some success with these programs. The government has sought to increase the GDP through different processes, including changes in industrial policies. There is a Public Distribution System, which has been effective to some extent. Other programs include the Integrated Rural Development Program, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana and the Training Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM), and other on-going initiatives.