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Anti-Poverty Measures

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  • Last Updated : 28 Mar, 2022
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Poverty refers to a situation of not having sufficient money or goods to live comfortably. When individuals lack the resources to meet their fundamental necessities, they are considered to be in poverty.

Poverty has been linked to poor health, low levels of education or skills, an inability or reluctance to work, high rates of disruptive or disorderly behavior, and improvidence, among other things.  While these characteristics are frequently associated with poverty, including them in a definition of poverty would likely conceal the relationship between them and the inability to meet one’s fundamental requirements.

For the removal of poverty, the government has adopted two approaches

  • Indirect approach: This includes establishing a high rate of economic growth through the promotion of small-scale industries and agricultural education. This method is also known as the trickle-down effect. It was expected that the expansion of industry and agriculture would provide employment and revenue, resulting in fast economic progress.
  • Direct Approach: Under the Direct Approach, the government has created many poverty alleviation programs and feeding schemes to directly target the poor.  Following are some important measures:

National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (NREGA): 

It provides 100 days of pay employment to a rural home whose adult members agree to conduct unskilled manual labor in a fiscal year. Women are to be given one-third of the planned employment. The system was implemented in 200 districts at first. The system is to be expanded to 600 districts. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2005 (later renamed the “Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act” or MGNREGA) is Indian labor legislation and social security program that attempts to provide the “right to work.” This legislation was approved on August 23, 2005, during Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s UPA government, with Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh as Minister of Rural Development, who submitted the bill before parliament. The scheme’s percentage of SC, ST, and women person-days is 23 percent, 17 percent, and 53 percent, respectively.

Another goal of MGNREGA is to generate long-lasting assets (such as roads, canals, ponds, and wells). Employment must be available within 5 kilometers of an applicant’s home, and minimum wage must be paid. Applicants are eligible for unemployment benefits if work is not found within 15 days of applying. That is, if the government fails to produce work, it is required to offer some unemployment benefits to those individuals.  As a result, employment under MGNREGA is a legal right. 

Prime Minister Rojgar Yojana (PMRY): 

On August 15, 1993, the Prime Minister proposed a program to give self-employment possibilities to one million educated jobless youngsters throughout the country. On October 2, 1993, the Scheme was formally inaugurated.

The PMRY was supposed to create employment for over a million people by establishing 7 lakh micro firms by educated jobless youth. It is concerned with the establishment of self-employment ventures through industry, service, and business routes. The program also aspires to include reputable non-governmental organizations in the execution of the PMRY initiative, particularly in the selection, training, and creation of project profiles. The program’s principal goal is to provide self-employment options for educated jobless youngsters in rural and small-town regions. It helps with a project with a total cost of Rs 2 lakh if it is in the business sector or Rs 5 lakh if it is in the service or industry sector. 

Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP): 

The Rural Employment Generation Program is primarily concerned with creating self-employment options in rural towns and villages. It is an initiative introduced by the Indian government. On April 1, 1995, the Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) created and inaugurated the Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) initiative. They created work prospects for around two million job seekers in the country’s rural areas through the KVI sector. Some of the features are:

  • Creation and extension of long-term, stable job possibilities in rural and urban locations around the country.
  • Making provision for the establishment and growth of micro-enterprises in order to create jobs.
  • Facilitating the participation of financial institutions allows for a smooth and simple flow of credit to the micro sector.
  • To shift the demand for raw resources generated by small-scale businesses to large-scale industries.

Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY): 

This Scheme was launched following a review and restructuring of the former Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) and related schemes such as Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM), Million Wells Scheme (MWS),  Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Supply of Improved Toolkits to Rural Artisans (SITRA), and Ganga Kalyan Yojna. 

SGSY was established on April 1, 1999, and it is the only self-employment programme now in operation. The SGSY’s goal is to lift aided Swarozgaris out of poverty by providing them with income-generating assets through bank financing and government subsidies. The scheme is being implemented with a 75:25 cost split between the Centre and the States. 

Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yozana (PMGY): 

This yojana started in the year 2000. It provides states with increased central aid for fundamental services like as primary health care, primary education, rural housing, rural drinking water, and rural electricity. PMGY was introduced in all States and Union Territories (UTs) in 2000-2001 with the goal of achieving sustainable human development at the village level.

The PMGY envisions allocating Additional Central Assistance (ACA) to states and UTs for chosen basic minimum services in order to focus on certain priority areas. From 2001 to 2002, rural electrification was offered as an extra component. The Planning Commission oversees both the financial and physical aspects of the programme.

Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY): 

It was first introduced in the year 2000. It was part of a plan to help one crore of the poorest households living below the poverty line. It was determined as being covered by the planned public distribution system. Each qualified family received 25kg of food grains at a heavily subsidized rate of Rs.2 per kg wheat and Rs.3 per kg rice. In 2003, the initiative was expanded further, and food grains were distributed to about 50 lakh low-income families.

The results of the programmes had both positive and negative outcomes. Reasons for the drawbacks is because of lack of right targeting and implementation; at the same time there has been overlapping of schemes. Also, the benefits of schemes are not fully reached to the target deserving poor strata of society.Therefore, the major emphasis in recent years is on proper monitoring of all the poverty alleviation programmes.

Sample Questions 

Question 1: How did the colonial authorities contribute to India’s agricultural underdevelopment?


The colonial government is responsible for the underdevelopment of agricultural areas in India because, under their control, India’s agriculture remained fundamentally agrarian, with more than 85 percent of the country’s population dependent on agriculture and living in villages. Due to a lack of proper resources for agricultural development, small farmers tend to borrow money for seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, among other things, and then fail to repay the borrowed amount.

Question 2: Mention the two pillars around which the government’s current anti-poverty policy is built.


 The present government’s anti-poverty campaign is built on two pillars:

  •  Promotion of economic growth
  • Anti-poverty programmes that are targeted. 

Question 3: What causes have contributed to the lessening of poverty in Bengal and Tamil Nadu?


  • In Bengal ,Poverty has been alleviated as a result of land reform initiatives.
  • In Tamil Nadu , Poverty has been decreased as a result of a well-functioning public distribution system. 

Question 4: What is Relative Poverty?


From a sociological standpoint, it is described as a living level that is lower than the economic standards of the surrounding population. As a result, it serves as a measure of income disparity. 

Question 5: What are the Causes of Poverty?


There are several explanations for India’s pervasive poverty :

  •  India experienced a poor degree of economic progress when under British dominion. The colonial government’s new policies destroyed traditional handicrafts and impeded the growth of businesses like as textiles. The combination of a low rate of growth and an increase in population has resulted in a very low rate of growth in per capita income.Many job possibilities in agriculture have been developed as a result of the spread of irrigation and the Green Revolution. However, these were insufficient to accommodate all job hopefuls.
  •  Another hallmark of high poverty rates is wide income disparities. The uneven distribution of land and other resources is one of the key reasons behind this. In India, one of the biggest reasons of poverty is a lack of land resources, although appropriate policy execution may have improved the lives of millions of rural poor.
  •  Small farmers required funds to purchase agricultural supplies such as seeds, fertilizer, insecticides, and so on. As a result, they borrowed money and were unable to return it due to poverty. 

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