Chapter 3, Poverty As A Challenge
Class IX, NCERT (CBSE) Economics
Textbook Exercise Questions-Answers
Q.1: Describe how the poverty line is estimated in India.
Ans: In India poverty line is measured or calculated considering the following factors required for subsistence:
1. Minimum level of food requirement,
4. Fuel and Light
5. Education and
6. Medical requirement etc.
These physical quantities are multiplied by their prices. The present formula for food requirement is based on the desired calorie requirement. On the basis of these calculations in 1999 - 2000, the poverty line in the rural areas was fixed Rs.328 per capita per month and in urban areas, it was Rs.454. People earning more than this amount were considered above the poverty line and earning less than this amount were considered as living below the poverty line.
Q.2: Do you think that present methodology of poverty estimation is appropriate?
Ans: The present methodology of poverty estimation does not look appropriate. It only takes one factor in view and that is the economic factor. Moreover it considers about a “minimum” subsistence level of living rather than a “reasonable” level of living.
Poverty has many dimensions. It is no longer confined to economic factors alone. With development, the definitions of what constitutes poverty also changes. Its concept has broadened to human poverty. A few persons may have been able to feed themselves but if they are without education, without shelter, without health-care, without job security, without self-confidence, without social equality, they are considered poor. If poverty is to be removed in real sense and the people are to be brought above the poverty line, not only that we need to increase their income but also, we have to provide the people with education, shelter, health-care, job-security, respect, dignity all.
Therefore, the present methodology of poverty estimation needs to be modified and broadened in order to make it an appropriate method.
Q.3: Describe poverty trends in India since 1973.
Ans: As per the data given in the book there is a substantial decline in poverty ratio in India from 55 percent in 1973 to 36 percent in 1993. There was further decline from 36 percent in 1993 to 26 percent in 2000. Although the number of poor people remained stable (about 320 million) in the earlier two decades (1973 to 1993), there was significant reduction in the number of the poor to about 260 million till 2000. If the present trend continues, the people below poverty line may come down to less than 20 percent in the next few years.
Q.4: Discuss the major reasons for poverty in India.
Ans: There are various reasons for poverty in India which are outlined below -
(1) Prolonged Colonial Administration
The policies of British Colonial government shattered the Indian economy so much that it could not be revived until the 1980s.
(2) Unabated Population Growth
The failures to promote both the required economic growth and population control have been the main cause of poverty today.
Illiteracy is also an important cause of poverty in our country.
(4) Disparity in the Ownership of Land-holdings
The unequal distribution of land, lack of land resources and failure in the proper implementation of land reform policies have been the major causes of poverty in rural areas.
Lack of job security and unemployment are other causes.
(6) Widening Inequalities of Income
This is a feature of high poverty. Money has been concentrating in fewer hands, thus rendering a majority of people poor.
(7) Slow Growth of Employment Opportunities
Despite the implementation of various employment generating programmes our government has failed to provide the necessary employment opportunities.
(8) Socio-cultural Factors
In order to fulfill social obligations such as marriage etc. and religious ceremonies people in India including the poor spend a lot of money which makes some people even poorer.
Q.5: Identify the social and economic groups which are most vulnerable to poverty in India.
Ans: Social Groups vulnerable to Poverty in India
(1) Scheduled Castes households.
(2) Scheduled Tribes households.
Economic Groups vulnerable to Poverty
(1) Rural Agricultural labour households.
(2) Urban Casual labour households.
Q.6: Give an account of interstate disparities of poverty in India.
Ans: Poverty in India is not the same in every state. The success rate of reducing poverty varies from state to state causing inter-state disparities in poverty level. Orissa, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are the three poorest states in India with their people living below poverty line being 47, 42 and 37 percent respectively. Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are the three better-off states in India as far as the poverty is concerned.
Q.7: Describe global poverty trends.
Ans: There have been substantial reduction in global poverty, but there are regional disparities described below -
(1) Poverty declined in China and South-East Asian countries as a result of rapid economic growth and huge investments in the development of human resources.
(2) In Latin America, the ratio of poverty remained almost the same.
(3) In sub-Saharan Africa, poverty saw an upward trend rather than a downward trend. It rose from 41% in 1981 to 46% in 2001.
(4) Poverty ha surfaced itself in some of the former socialist countries like Russia, where formerly it was non-existent.
Q.8: Describe current government strategy of poverty alleviation.
Ans: Removal of poverty has one of the major objectives of Indian developmental strategy. The current government strategy of poverty alleviation is based on two planks:
(1) Promotion of Economic Growth
(2) Targeted Anti-poverty Programmes
Some of the anti-poverty programmes undertaken by government at present are discussed below:
Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY)
Started in 1993, this programme aims to create self-employment opportunities for educated unemployed youth in rural areas and small towns.
Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY)
Launched in 2000, this aims to create and improve basic services like primary health, primary education, rural shelter, rural drinking water and rural electrification.
National Food for Work programme (NFWP)
Launched in 2004 in 150 most backward districts of the country, this programme is open to all rural poor who are in need of wage employment and desired to do manual unskilled work.
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)
This act was passed in September 2005. The act provides 100 days assured employment every year to every rural household in 200 districts. Later, the scheme will be extended to 600 districts and also one third to the proposed jobs would be reserved for women.
Q.9: Answer the following questions briefly -
(i) What do you understand by human poverty?
(ii) Who are the poorest of the poor?
(iii) What are the main features of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005?
(i) Poverty is multi-dimensional problem. As per the official concept of poverty, a person is considered poor if his or her income falls below a given ‘minimum level’. But human poverty is not confined to economic factors alone. With development, the definitions of what constitutes poverty also changes. The official definition of poverty considers only a ‘minimum’ subsistence level of living rather than a ‘reasonable’ level of living. Many scholars advocate that the concept of human poverty must be broadened and should be looked through other social indicators like - illiteracy level, lack of general resistance due to mal-nutrition, lack of access to resources like health-care, safe drinking water, job opportunities, sanitation, lack of self-confidence without social equality etc.
(ii) Women, children (especially the girl child) and elder people in a poor family are regarded as the poorest of the poor because they are systematically denied equal access to resources available to the family.
(iii) Refer to the answer of Q.8 above.
Poverty as a Challenge - Chapter 3, NCERT (CBSE) Class IX, Economics
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