Policies Made By the Government of India for the Removal of Poverty
(i) General Growth:
This is concerned with the moulding of the growth strategy in a manner that has helped to some extent in improving the conditions of the poor. This involved such a restructuring of the production, and of product-mix, that provided more work/income and more mass-goods, to the poor.
In concrete terms, this was attempted along the following lines : expansion of agricultural and non-farm activities in the rural areas, as also of activities in the unorganised sectors in the urban areas ; adoption of labour-intensive techniques ; enlarged production of food grains and other items of necessities, etc. All these together with the development of other sectors like industries, etc., were supposed to benefit the poor.
However, it has also been realised that these measures are by themselves not sufficient for the purpose. This awareness became acute in recent years, when it was found that the trickle-down effects of the general growth have been of little help.
(ii) Supplementary Measures:
One category of such measures consists of anti-poverty programmes like National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP), etc.
These programmes have twofold purpose. In the first place, these provide direct employment on wages paid in cash, and in cash and kind (like wheat, etc.). Secondly, these help the poor in earning by providing them with assets, inputs, credit, marketing facilities, training for skill formation, etc.
The government has been expanding these programmes by devoting more and more resources, and by enlarging its coverage in terms of the number of the poor, the areas and the activities.
Another category of measures relates to the provision of cheap/subsidised food grains to the poor through the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). PDS was redesigned as TPDS where higher rates of subsidies were given to the poor and the poorest among the poor.
Some of the Achievements of government in removing the Poverty:
As a result of these government efforts, some improvements have, in fact, been effected in the situation. As per the estimates (by NSSO 61st Survey), the percentage of poor below the poverty line has fallen from 54.9 per cent in 1973-74 to 36 per cent in 1993-94 and further to 27.5 per cent in 2004-05.
There is again some progress in the provision of productive assets and facilities of production for the poor. Some advances have also been made in raising the skill and health status of the poor.
While all these measures have helped, the lasting solution to the problem of poverty lies only in the framework of an expanding economy and dynamic agricultural sector.