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Chapter 4: Poverty
You would have noticed that in all localities and neighbourhoods, both in rural and urban areas, there are some of us who are poor and some who are rich.
Read the story of Anu and Sudha. Their lives are examples of the two extremes (see Box 4.1). There are also people who belong to the many stages in between.
Push-cart vendors, street cobblers, women who string flowers, rag pickers, vendors and beggars are some examples of poor and vulnerable groups in urban areas.
The poor people possess few assets and reside in kutcha hutments with walls made of baked mud and roofs made of grass, thatch, bamboo and wood.
The poorest of them do not even have such dwellings. In rural areas many of them are landless. Even if some of them possess the land, it is only dry or wasteland.
Many do not get to have even two meals a day. Starvation and hunger are the key features of the poorest households.
The poor lack basic literacy and skills and hence have very limited economic opportunities. Poor people also face unstable employment.
Malnutrition is alarmingly high among the poor. Ill health, disability or serious illness makes them physically weak.
They borrow from moneylenders, who charge high rates of interest that lead them into chronic
indebtedness. The poor are highly vulnerable.
They are not able to negotiate their legal wages from employers and are exploited. Most poor households have no access to electricity.
Their primary cooking fuel is firewood and cow dung cake. A large section of poor people do
not even have access to safe drinking water.
There is evidence of extreme gender inequality in the participation of gainful employment, education and in decision-making within the family.
Poor women receive less care on their way to motherhood. Their children are less likely to survive or be born healthy.
Economists identify the poor on the basis of their occupation and ownership of assets.
They state that the rural poor work mainly as landless agricultural labourers, cultivators with very small landholdings, or landless labourers, who are engaged in a variety of non-agricultural jobs and tenant cultivators with small land holdings.
The urban poor is largely the overflow of the rural poor who had migrated to urban areas in search of alternative employment and livelihood, labourers who do a variety of casual jobs and the self-employed who sell a variety of things on roadsides and are engaged in various activities.
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NCERT Solutions Class 11 Economics Chapter 4 Poverty
1. Why is the calorie-based norm not adequate to identify the poor?
The calorie-based norm is not adequate due to these reasons:
1. It does not make a differentiation between types of poor. It categorises all as “poor”. It indicates all as poor while missing out on the poorest among the lot. Someone who is most needy.
2. It does not consider factors such as health care, proper sanitation, clean water for drinking and basic education. Only identifying the calorie intake is not a proper parameter to determine the economic condition of any individual.
3. This calculation also does not take into account social factors that affect poverty in a major way like health conditions, lack of resources, and civil and political freedom.
4. The expenditure on food and some selective items are considered alternatives for income without a proper measurement for poverty.
2. What is meant by the ‘Food for Work’ programme?
Food for Work Programme was started in the year 1977 by the government formed by Janata Party, that time it generated employment for unskilled labourers to help create roads and other useful assets in exchange for providing food grains as wages. The same programme was revived in the year 2004 and was named as NFFWP (National Food for Work Programme). This program was launched in 150 of the most backward districts of the country with an aim to provide employment and also provide food security to the unskilled labourers of these areas.
3. Why are employment generation programmes important in poverty alleviation in India?
Employment generation programmes help in poverty alleviation in the following ways:
1. When new employment schemes are generated, it results in employment opportunities for people and similarly, they will be above poverty.
2. The poor people can get a chance to live a better life by getting access to healthcare facilities, proper nutrition, education and hygienic conditions.
3. Employment generation schemes help in developing skills in the previously unskilled workers which will help in increasing employment prospects later on.
4. There is a problem of disguised unemployment in the agricultural sector, and employment programmes help in reducing disguised unemployment by engaging those labourers in some other activities.
4. How can the creation of income-earning assets address the problem of poverty?
Income earning assets help generate sources of income for the poor people and thereby helps in addressing the issue of poverty. Such assets can be in the form of technical skills, monetary assistance, and better education and support services for increasing the overall productivity of the population that will directly impact in improving quality of life.
NCERT Class 11 Economics Textbook Chapter 4 Poverty With Answer PDF Free Download