Rural Poverty: The number of poor people in India according to countries 11th National development plan, amounts to more than 300 million. The country has been successful in reducing the proportion of poor people from about 55% in 1973 to about 27% in 2004. Almost one-third of the country’s population of more than 11 billion continues, to live below the poverty line and a large proportion of poor people live in rural areas.
Poverty remains a chronic condition for almost 30% of India’s rural population. The incidence of rural poverty has been declined somewhat over the past three decades as a result of rural to urban migration.
Poverty is deepest among members of SCs/STs in the country’s rural areas. In 2005 these groups accounted for 80% of poor rural people although their share in the total rural population is much smaller. On the map are power t in India the poorest areas are in parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.
Large numbers of India’s poorest people live in the country semi-arid tropical region. In these areas shortage of water and recurrent droughts impede the transformation of agriculture that the green revolution has achieved elsewhere. There is also a high incidence of poverty in flood-prone areas such as those extending from eastern Uttar Pradesh to the Assam plains, and especially in Northern Bihar.
Poverty affects tribal people in forest areas also, where loss of entitlement to resources has made them even poorer. In coastal fishing communities people’s living conditions or deteriorating because of environmental degradation, stock depletion and vulnerability of natural disasters.
Causes of Rural Poverty
The following causes of rural poverty in rural areas may be identified:
- Inadequate and effective implementation of anti poverty programmes.
- Low percentage of population engaged in agricultural persuits.
- Non availability of recreational facilities and is attic rainfall in several States.
- Low agricultural productivity resulting from dependence on traditional methods of cultivation and inadequate knowledge of modern skills.
- Non-availability of electricity for agricultural as well as industrial used in most of the villages.
- Poor quality of live stock.
- Imperfect and exploited credit market.
- Lack of link roads, communication facilities and markets.
- Low level of education, the general literacy level in the rural areas in the country is low while for female it is very low.
- Absence of dynamic community leadership
- Failure to seek women’s corporation in developmental activities and associated them with planned programs.
- Inter-caste conflicts and rivalries
- Spending a large percentage of annual earning on social ceremonies like marriage, death feast and people being unwilling to break the expensive customs.
Action Plan for Alleviating Rural Poverty
To reduce poverty in the rural areas, following action plan may be suggested:
- Strengthening credit disbursing agencies.
- Providing cheap power supply for agricultural and industrial use.
- Activating cooperative societies for selling products of household industries.
- Making allocations in poverty elevation programs flexible and sanctioning special allocation to district/blocks/villages showing good results.
- Integrating varied poverty alleviation programmes in one or two schemes and making the availability of benefits easier.
- Developing human resources by focusing on education, health and skill programmes.
- Introducing a double distributed system for the destitute and the extremely poor.
- Creating social awareness to arrest increasing debt growth among the poor.
- Improving animal husbandry and developing dairy and poultry farming.
- Activating Panchayat to focus on adult education programme, road construction and maintaining tree plantations.
- Activating NGOs in role-play like digging of tanks, tree plantation training of youth, imparting skills to women, creating Social awareness among the people and so forth.