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Poverty- Problem to Indian Society

Authored By : Syeda Khizra Rizvi


Poverty, Population, Unemployment.


India’s fight with poverty has been going on since decades with the nation being home to one-third of the world’s poor since long. It has never been easy job for the major part of our population to make ends meet. The country’s impoverished state has also played a vital role in major portion of the total illiteracy rate. Similarly, the low illiteracy rate has given great lead to unemployment rate in the country and with population explosion, things got worse for this nation with limited resources. Currently, India holds the 103rd rank on the Global Hunger Index, which is not good update. But through all this struggle, citizens are still thriving. India is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world and promises to be so with our continuous, never-ceasing efforts, a lot of positive developments, as far as the scenario of poverty is concerned. India has, for ages in the queue, been the country with the largest number of poor people living.


Poverty is a state, or we can also say a condition in which a person/community lacks the financial resources as well as essentials for a minimum standard of living. Poverty means that the income level out of employment is so low that even the basic human needs can't be met. According to World Bank, Poverty is, “pronounced deprivation in well-being, and comprises many dimensions”. It also includes low the inability to acquire the basic goods and services necessary for survival with dignity and low income. It encompasses low levels of health and education, inadequate physical security, poor access to clean water and sanitation, lack of voice, and insufficient capacity and opportunity to better one's life. According to 2011, India, almost 21.9% of the population lives below the national poverty line.

Poverty Estimation in India

Poverty estimation in India is carried out by NITI Aayog’s (National Institution for Transforming India) task force through the calculus of poverty line based on the data captured by the National Sample Survey Office under the Ministry of Statistics and Programmed Implementation (MOSPI). Poverty line as a standard estimation in India is based on the consumption expenditure and not on the income levels so as it is measured based on consumer expenditure surveys of the National Sample Survey Organization. A poor household is defined as one with an expenditure level below a provided poverty line. The incidence of poverty is weighted by the poverty ratio, which is the ratio of the number of poor people to the total population expressed in terms of percentage which is also known as head-count ratio.

Causes of Poverty in India

§ Population Explosion: India’s population has steadily raised through passing years. During the past 45 years, it has risen at a rate of 2.2% per year, which reflects that on an average about 17 million people are added to the country’s population each year. This also increases the demand of the people for consumption of goods tremendously.

§ Low Rate of Economic Development: Economic development has been low in India especially in the first 40 years of independence before the LPG reforms also known as Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization model in 1991.

§ Price Rise: Price rise has been firmly fixed in the country and this has added to the burden the poor carry. Although some of the section of the society got benefited from this, but the lower income groups have suffered because of it, and are not even able to satisfy their basic minimum wants or demand.

§ Low Agricultural Productivity: A major reason for poverty is the low productivity in the field of agriculture sector. The reason for low productivity is many and various, mainly, it is because of fragmented and subdivided land holdings, illiteracy about new technologies in farming, lack of capital, the use of traditional methods of cultivation, wastage during storage, etc.

§ Inefficient Resource utilization: There is underemployment and disguised unemployment in the country, particularly in the field of farming and agriculture sector. This has resulted in low agricultural output and led to a fall in the standard of living.

§ Unemployment: Unemployment is another leading factor causing poverty in India. The ever-increasing population has raised to a higher number of jobseekers. However, there is not enough expansion in opportunities in the country to match this demand for jobs.

§ Lack of Capital and Entrepreneurship: The shortage of capital and entrepreneurship results in low level of investment and job opportunity in the economy.

§ Social Factors: Apart from economic factors given, there are also social factors hindering the eradication of poverty in India. Some of the major reason of delay in this regard are the laws of inheritance, caste system, certain traditions, etc.

§ Climatic Factors: Most of India’s poor belong to the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, etc. Natural calamities such as frequent floods, disasters, earthquake and cyclone cause heavy damage to agriculture in various parts of these states.


The index released by the United Nation observed that 271 million people moved out of poverty between 2005 to 2006 and 2015 to 2016 in India. The poverty rate in the country has nearly halved, decreasing from 55% to 28% over the time span of ten years. still a major part of the population in India is living Below the Poverty Line. Rapid economic growth and the use of technology for social sector programs have helped make a significant dent in extreme poverty in the country. Despite of rapid growth and development, an unacceptably high proportion of our population continues to suffer from severe and multidimensional deprivation. Thus, a more comprehensive and inclusive approach is very much required to eradicate poverty in India.