Economy India

How around 25 crore people in India uplift them from the poverty line

How around 25 crore people uplift them from the poverty line

By Manohar Manoj

 The recent multi-dimensional Poverty Alleviation Report presented by NITI Aayog points toward a major turnaround in the BIMARU states while giving a promising picture of the country’s economy. It is another matter that the ground situation of some game-changer schemes for poverty alleviation in India is still telling something else. However, the most important aspect of the new NITI Aayog report is that the data on poverty reduction in India is built on the results achieved at multi-sectoral scales of socio-economic development. These standards are not only at par with international standards but are also two steps ahead of them. Since the year 2005-06, now total 12 yardsticks of poverty alleviation have been set in India whereas at the global level, there are only 10. Talking about India, there are three main bases for the upliftment of poor families; the first of which is ‘health’, the second is ‘education’ and the third is ‘standard of living’. Under the first point of health, third aspects is nutrition of poor children, infant mortality rate and the maternal health. Under the second basis education there are two points that is the first no. Of school attendance of a poor child and the second is the total number of school years spent by the child belonging to a poor family. Under the third basic of the standard of living, there are seven parameters taken which include ‘cooking fuel’, ‘ piped drinking water’, ‘electricity connection’, ‘sanitation’, ‘housing’, ‘durable assets’, and ‘bank account’.According to the NITI Aayog report, on these broad parameters, the population below the poverty line in India was 55 percent of the total population. During this period, firstly the UPA government and subsequently the NDA governments in India laid the foundation stone of all their schemes of socio-economic development and welfare based on the above parameters and then transferred revenue resources on the same. According to the NITI Aayog report, between 2005 and 2014, India’s population below the poverty line came down to 29 percent of the total population. At this time NITI Aayog had estimated that by 2030 this population would reduce by two-thirds to only 10 percent. However according to the just presented report of NITI Aayog, the government has already achieved this target five years ago and currently, the percentage of the population below the poverty line in India is 11.28 percent of the total population. NITI Aayog has claimed through its data collected through interpolation and extrapolation methods that the rate of poverty alleviation in India, which was 7 percent between 2005 and 2014, increased to 10 percent in the nine years after 2014.
According to the NITI Aayog report, about 25 crore people have overcome poverty in the last nine years. Talking about the states, the poverty alleviation achievement of BIMARU states like UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan has been very remarkable during this period. For example, in the last nine years, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of people who crossed the poverty line, about 5.94 crore people, and now only 17 percent of the state’s population is below the poverty line, which was 38 percent in 2015. In second place, about 3.77 crore people in Bihar crossed the poverty line and now only 26 percent of the state’s population is below the poverty line, which was 51 percent in 2015. During this period, about 2.3 crore people in Madhya Pradesh overcame poverty and the current BPL percentage of the state has come down to 15 percent which was 37 percent in 2015. During this period, 187 crore people in Rajasthan overcame poverty and now only 11 percent of the state’s population is BPL, which was 29 percent in the year 2015. Out of all BIMARU states, Rajasthan is the state where BPL population is below the national average, while the remaining three BIMARU states are having above the national BPL average.Obviously, this report of NITI Aayog on Multi-dimensional poverty alleviation is encouraging and shows the inclination of India’s planners and policymakers towards multi-dimensional development programs. While the UPA created many socio-economic development schemes during its tenure on the above twelve parameters, the current NDA government made the scope of these socio-economic development schemes multi-dimensional and widened the scope of direct payment to the beneficiaries through the DBT method. This report reaffirmed that the practicality of the trickledown theory of poverty alleviation in India is being extended. Under this, the economic cycle of the country’s high growth rate and the benefits flowing from it to the poor and increased allocation from the increased revenue of the government for the development and welfare programs of the deprived and poor sections have become its main factors. However, some questions are also raised about the manner in which Modi’s NDA government has won accolades for its multi-dimensional poverty alleviation schemes and the data on the increased pace of their implementation. For example, if we talk about the three parameters of health – nutrition, child and maternal health, then we have to accept this fact that its foundation was well prepared in the 1990s, which includes continuity of work of all the upcoming governments. Under this, India’s becoming polio-free is a big achievement. Secondly, talking about education, the originator of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, was Vajpayee’s NDA-1 in the late 1990s, which created a strong foundation of literacy in India and adequate funds were raised for this scheme through the education cess provision of the UPA. Talking about the standard of living, out of the above-mentioned seven parameters, the schemes initiated by the Modi government have come out more boldly and effectively in the last nine years through schemes related to kitchen fuel, drinking water, electricity connection, toilet construction, housing, and bank accounts.  But among the above schemes, two game changer schemes of the Modi government, Ujjwala meant for cooking fuel and Rashtriya Swachhta Abhiyaan for toilet construction, have been seen falling flat in these BIMARU states. Due to the huge increase in gas prices during the Corona period, most of the Ujjwala beneficiaries started cooking on wood and cow dung cakes. Similarly, during the Corona period, most of the children in the primary schools of villages were forced to leave their studies and become child laborers. Talking about the cleanliness scheme, the campaign of toilet construction has slowed down in the second term of the Modi government. And women in many villages of the country have started waiting for the evening to go to the fields for defecation. The government should re-survey the beneficiaries of these schemes. The government should be aware of the ground reality by preparing an alternative survey report of these schemes. In the last ten years of the Modi government’s tenure, the growth rate was badly affected due to demonetization, GST, and national lockdown for about five years, but in the first three years and the last two years of the whole term, the growth rate has been above 6 percent and it had a positive impact on poverty alleviation too.

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