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Poverty In India Essay

Poverty in India

Introduction: Poverty refers to a situation when people are deprived of basic necessities of life. It is often characterized by inadequacy of food, shelter and clothes. In other words, poverty refers to a state of privation where there is a lack of essential needs for subsistence.

India is one of the poorest countries in the world. Many Indian people do not get two meals a day. They do not have good houses to live in. Their children do not get proper schooling.

Poor people are the depressed and deprived class. They do not get proper nutrition and diet. Their conditions have not sufficiently improved even long after over 65 years of our Independence.

Poverty in urban India: Just like most of the growing and developing countries, there has been continuous increase in Urban population.

  • Poor people migrate from rural areas to cities and towns in search of employment/financial activity.
  • The income of more than 8 crore urban people is estimated to fall below poverty line (BPL).
  • In addition to this, there are around 4.5 crore urban people whose income level is on borderline of poverty level.
  • A income of urban poors is highly unstable. A large number of them are either casual workers or self-employed.
  • Banks and Financial institutions are reluctant to provide them loan because of the unstable income.
  • Five states that constitutes around 40% of all urban poor people of India are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Around 35% of the total population of the four metro cities (Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai) consists of slum population.
  • A large portion of people living in slums are illiterate.
  • The initiatives taken to deal with the problem of urban poverty has not yielded the desired results.

Poverty in rural India: It is said that rural India is the heart of India. In reality, the life of people living in rural areas is marked with severe poverty. Inspite of all the efforts, the condition of poor villagers is far from satisfactory. The report on Socio-economic and Caste Census (2011) reveal the following facts:

  • SCST: Of all the rural households, around 18.46 percent belongs to scheduled castes, and around 10.97 belongs to scheduled Tribes.
  • Major source of income: Manual causal labour jobs and cultivation are the major sources of income for rural people. Nearly 51 percent of all households are economically engaged in manual casual labour and nearly 30 percent of them is engaged in cultivation.
  • Deprived: Around 48.5 percent of rural households are deprived according to the census.
  • Assets: Only 11.04 percent of families own a refrigerator while there is a vehicle (including two-wheeler, boat, etc. )in around 29.69 percent of the rural houses.
  • Income Tax: Only 4.58 percent of rural households pay income tax.
  • Land ownership: Around 56 percent of village households doesn’t own a land.
  • Size of rural houses: The houses of around 54 percent rural families consists of either one or two-rooms. Out of them, around 13 percent lives in a one-room house.

Also read: Short essay on Poverty in Indian Villages

Causes of poverty

The growing population inflates the problem of poor techniques used in Agriculture. Further, there is unequal distribution of wealth. As a result, the poor people are often exploited by the wealthy community. The most important causes of Poverty in India are poor agriculture, growing Population, gap between rich and poor, corruption and black money.

Poor agriculture: India is mainly an agricultural country. About 80% people of our country depend on agriculture. But our agriculture is in a bad way. Farmers are poor and uneducated. They do not know the modern methods of farming. They have no good facilities of irrigation. They do not get seeds and fertilizers in time. Thus, the yield is poor. Agriculture is not profitable today. We face the shortage of food. We have to import it. So, poor agriculture is one of the causes of India’s poverty.

Growing population: Our population is growing rapidly. But our resources are limited. The growth in population creates problems for us. Today, our population is 1.20 billion; tomorrow we will be 1.21 billion and so on. We need more food, more houses, and more hospitals for them. So we have no money to spend on development projects. The ever-growing rate of population must be checked. If not, we may not be able to remove India’s poverty.

Gap between the rich and the poor: The widening gap between the rich and the poor is also responsible for India’s poverty. The rich are growing richer. The poor are growing poorer. This economic gap between the two must be reduced. Our social system should be changed. The poor people must get all help to reap the fruits of Independence.

Corruption and black-money: There are corruptions in every walk of life. There is inefficiency in offices. People have become selfish. They neglect the national interests. Black money causes the problem of rising prices. Some people have all the privileges. But many others are suffering. Black money affects our economy. It causes poverty.

Also read: Causes of Rural and Urban Poverty in India

Effects of poverty

  1. Illiteracy: Poor people constitutes greater share of illiterate population. Education becomes extremely difficult when people are deprived of basic necessities of life.
  2. Child Labor: In India, a large number of young boys and girls are engaged in child labour. Also read, article on Poverty and Child labour in India.
  3. Nutrition and diet: Poverty is the leading cause of insufficient diet and inadequate nutrition. The resources of poor people are very limited, and its effect can be seen in their diet.
  4. Poor living condition and Housing problems: The don’t get proper living conditions. They have to fight the hardship of poverty to secure food, clothes and shelter. A large number of poor families live in houses with one room only.
  5. Unemployment: Poor people move from villages to towns and form one town to another in search of employment/work. Since, they are mostly illiterate and un-skilled, there are very few employment opportunities open for them. Due to unemployment, many poor people are forced to live an unfulfilled life.
  6. Hygiene and sanitation: These people have little knowledge about hygiene and proper sanitation system. They are not aware of the harmful consequences of not maintaining proper hygiene. The government is taking initiatives to make available clean and safe water, and proper sanitation system to them.
  7. Feminization of poverty: Women are the worst victims of poverty. Poverty effects greater number of women then men. The total of poor women outnumbers the total population of poor men. The causes include low income, gender-inequality, etc. They are deprived of proper-diet, medicines and health treatment.
  8. Social tensions: Poverty is often characterized with income disparity and unequal distribution of national wealth between the rich and the poor. Concentration of wealth in the hands of few rich people lead to social disturbances and revolts. Fair or even distribution of wealth leads an overall improvement in general standard of living of people.


We have to solve this problem of India’s poverty.

  • Farmers must get all facilities for irrigation.
  • They should be trained and educated.
  • Agriculture must be made profitable.
  • The ever-rising population should be checked.
  • Family planning schemes should be introduced.
  • More and more industries should be set up to meet the needs of our country.
  • Corruption must end. Our offices should work efficiently.

These are some of the ways  by which our poverty can be removed.

Also read: How to Stop Poverty in India


Poverty is a national problem and it must be solved on a war footing. The government is taking a number of steps to mitigate poverty. Eradication of poverty would ensure a sustainable and inclusive growth of economy and society. We all should do everything possible and within our limits to help alleviate poverty from our country.

Also read: Complete Essay on Poverty in India

Last updated: 04.07.2015

Category: Essays, Paragraphs and ArticlesTagged With: Poverty in India

Issues relating to poverty and hunger

Poverty and hunger have been a universal and increasing menace to humankind. Research reports have indicated that most of the people in African countries are exposed to poverty and hunger. About 70% of Africa's poor are rural inhabitants. There are many inter-related issues that cause hunger and poverty that are related to socio-economic and other factors. A large proportion of people have very limited access to income, resources, education, health care and nutrition.

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Hunger is the condition where both adults and children cannot access food constantly and have to decrease food intake, eat poor diets, and often go without any food. (Dillon and Marquand, 2011). Hunger is also explained as the troubled or painful sensation caused by lack of food. According to Amartya Sen, he discovered that the real cause for hunger is the lack of ability to pay for food.

Root causes of hunger

Hunger at global scale is one of the main problems that large number of the global population faces presently. Hunger varies with severity. World hunger has many annoying factors and major causes, such as insufficient economic systems, misinformation, and climate changes. But the main unbearable factor is poverty as poverty always has led to people going without regular meals because they cannot afford to eat. There are majority of people in developing countries such as Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia that are in desperate need of food. It has been observed that with the growth of population, the number of hungry people also increases at an uneven rate.

Table: Global Hunger Index of India and Neighbouring Countries (Source: Global hunger Index 2012 International Food Policy and Research Institute and Green Scenery and Concern Worldwide)

Climate change is also a major issue for world hunger. With the amount of rain that a country gets increases, it can possibly lead to serious flooding. This can devastate an entire year's harvest, destroying whatever the farmer may have prepared for his family or the market. Flooding adversely affects how much food is produced and available to the impoverished and raises the costs of these farm products. This indicates that the poor can afford even less than they would usually be able to buy. Many people in developing countries depend on farmers in order to live, so with the weather changing so drastically with each season, it ruins their chances of growing food to either eat or sell. (Climate changes is worsening world hunger, 2013). It makes difficult for them to produce food because changes in weather are increasing severely. Farmers already scuffle with growing food, so with the climate changes increasing, it is not only affecting them but also affecting their nation's budget.

Among numerous issues, Hunger and malnutrition are closely associated in Indian scenario. The Global Study revealed that 42% children in India are underweight and 58% of children are stunted by two years of age. The results of the HUNGaMA Survey Report also indicated the same findings that 59%, instead of 58%, children are stunted. Furthermore, hunger and malnutrition have a separate gender dimension and are prevalent among the women and mothers. Malnutrition occurs when a person's body receives little or no nutrients. People who are malnourished get sick more often and as a result in many cases die. According to Muller & Krawinkel (2015), "Malnutrition is consequently the most important risk factor for the problem of disease in developing countries. It is the direct cause of about 300,000 deaths per year and is indirectly responsible for about half of all deaths in young children" (p. 279). When the individual does not eat a proper meal that provides nutrients and vitamins, it contributes to malnutrition. It not only harms the body but also the mind.

It can be said that world hunger must be taken seriously and should be approached with all deliberate and instant policies. There are different issues of world hunger but the three main ones are poverty, climate changes, and also feeble economies.

Poverty: According to many scholars, poverty is a condition characterised by lack of basic needs such as water, health care, foods, sufficient access to social and economic services, and few opportunities for formal income generation. Poverty is often described in terms of the income level below which people are unable to access sufficient food for a healthy working life. Poverty has grabbed attention of the international academician and health experts during the last decade. Successive Summits have made commitments to radically reduce the misery from which so many humans suffer throughout their lives. Hunger and food insecurity are the most serious forms of extreme poverty. To eradicate these issues from society is the prime concern of international organizations. Extreme poverty remains an upsetting problem in the world's developing regions, regardless of the advances made in the 1990s. Progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia and especially East Asia. In other areas, the number of people in extreme poverty has increased especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Table: Poverty statistics in world (Source: World Bank, Development Research Group, 2009)

Poverty in India is primarily due to improper government policies and the misuse of the financially weaker section by the wealthier community. The main outcome of poverty is hunger. Hunger's seriousness can be understood easily from the fact that every year, 5.8 million children die from hunger related-causes around the world (FAO Hunger Report 2008). Customarily, poverty has been explained as income inadequacy. In developing countries, poverty has been conventionally evaluated with reference to sufficient calorie consumption. Poverty involves more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and elimination as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Various social groups bear uneven burden of poverty. Reports of World Bank revealed that India is one of the poorest countries in the world. Some of the main issues associated with prevalent poverty in India are poor health services, and insufficient education and training. Almost half of India's population drops out of school by the age of thirteen and only one in ten people receive some form of job training.

Poor health services: It has been observed that People of developing countries have less access to good health services as compared to industrialized nations. Deficiencies that lead to ill health are common in developing countries, and the poor community in developing countries are particularly at risk (World bank. 2000). The relationship between poverty and access to health care can be seen as part of a larger cycle, where poverty leads to ill health and ill health maintains poverty (Wagstaff, A. 2002).

Child malnutrition: The occurrence of under-nutrition in India is amongst the highest levels found in any country in the world and in spite of the development in food production, disease control and economic and social development, India is facing an acute problem of child malnutrition.

Insufficient education and training: In developing countries, children do not have access to basic education because of inequalities that originate in sex, health and cultural identity. These children find themselves on the margins of the education system and do not get benefit from learning which is vital for their intellectual and social development. It has been revealed in reports that illiteracy and lack of education are common factor that lead to poverty. Governments of developing countries often cannot have enough money to provide for good public schools, especially in rural areas. Poor people also often sacrifice schooling in order to concentrate on making a minimal living. Additionally, developing countries tend to have few employment opportunities, especially for women. As a result, people do not want to attend school.

Rooted factors associated with poverty in many developing countries are political power, corruption and warfare. Political power is unreasonably centralized. Instead of having a network of political legislatures distributed equally throughout society, in centralized systems of governance one major party, politician, or region is in charge for decision-making throughout the country. This often causes development problems. In these situations politicians make decisions about places that they are unaware with, lacking sufficient knowledge about the context to design effective and appropriate policies and programs.

Another issue related with poverty is corruption often accompanies centralization of power, when leaders are not accountable to those they serve. Corruption hinders development when leaders help themselves to money that would otherwise be used for development projects. In other cases, leaders reward political support by providing services to their factions.

Warfare also lead to entrenched poverty by diverting scarce resources allocated for reducing poverty to maintaining a military. Environmental degradation is also a major issue in increasing poverty. In the developing world, the poor communities depend on natural resources to fulfil their basic needs through agricultural production and gathering resources essential for household maintenance, such as water, firewood, and wild plants for consumption and medicine. Therefore, the depletion and impurity of water sources directly impend the livelihoods of those who depend on them. One of the more deep-rooted sources of poverty around the globe is social inequality that stems from cultural ideas about the relative worth of different genders, races, ethnic groups, and social classes.

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