Poverty: Causes in India

Poverty alleviation programs in India, available at https://en.wikipedia.org (last visited on February 14, 2022), Economic Survey 2021-22, Available at https://www.indiabudget.gov.in (last visited on February 14, 2022)

“POVERTY” is the most common and highly infectious disease. In India, we can see its effect everywhere and a high number of the population is affected by this. The word poverty has grown its root so deeper than one can even think of. Since the beginning, especially after the independence, India was considered one of the poor nations but it has formulated its ways and coped up with the problem, if not completely, partially. The concept of “Rich getting richer, and poor getting poorer” has become the building stone for the nation these days.

In 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19, we observed thousands of workers starving from hunger, dying, migrating, they had no employment, and could barely afford basic livelihood facilities. We sit at our homes watching television and blaming the government for not fulfilling their duties, we should be responsible citizens and help the poor workers with soothing out their problems, we can make small donations, stop wasting food, and so many other small things that can save our nation from the harmful effects of poverty.

Removing poverty and helping in the development of the nation should be every citizen’s goal. One of the famous quotes of Nelson Mandela says, part of building a new nation means building a spirit of tolerance, love, and respect amongst the people of this country. Building a nation means respecting every class of people. We as a citizen should be honest and proud but that doesn’t mean we should forget the duties we are allotted and the love we are here to spread. But at some point, we all forget how much our nation needs us and it should be us the togetherness that will help the nation flourish.

1. A brief history of poverty and its effect since the time of the British:

In 1498, the Portuguese came to India (Calicut), in 1595, the Dutch arrived in Pondicherry, in 1608, the British arrived in Surat, and in 1664 the French came to Pondicherry, all collectively called European traders. Portuguese came to India a hundred years before any other European traders hence they had more trading posts.

The major problem was, all the European trading companies were interested in buying the same product that was, fine quality cotton, silk, and spices (pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon.) these were the highly demanded goods in Europe. In 1707, After the death of Aurangzeb (the Mughal emperor), the Britishers started to expand the fortification and over time concurred with the nation. They took all the goods that were highly present in India and had high demand in Europe which led to economic deprivation.  

2. Policies made by the government towards a better life:  

Programs like wage employment program, self-employment program, food-security program, social security program, urban poverty alleviation program, and skill India program for employment were imposed after independence to deal with the massive deprivation in all sectors.

The policies made by the then government did help and the conditions of the nation grew better. Over time there were several acts and policies that were passed and were in favor of the rural population. Development of the rural areas had always been the biggest concern for the nation. IRDP (Integrated Rural Development Program) was introduced in 1978-79, JGSY (Jawahar Gram Samridhi yojana) launched on 1 April 1999 with the aim of developing Rural areas, Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (Universal Rural Employment Program) that was launched on 25 September 2001, aimed towards providing gainful employment for the rural poor, Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana was launched in 1985 aimed at creating 20 lakh housing units from which 13 lakhs were in rural areas.

These all programs took a while to prove their benefits to the nation but can be considered to be significant. On15 September 2020,a bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha, which deals with the salary, allowances, and pension of the member of parliament. Due to the pandemic, the Indian economy was gradually going down which forced the government to take this step in which the salary of the members of parliament was reduced by 30%.

Another remarkable bill was passed on 27 September 2020 to ensure a fair price for the farmers for their production. This was forced by the high suicide level of farmers due to low income and pressure of high production. The farmer service bill ensures the price of the product before sowing. If the price of the product increases in the market, then the farmer will receive the market price instead of the cost price. But this transfers the pressure from the producer to the consumer. So, the government needs to modify its decisions before imposing them on the public.

3. Are the measures and policies taken up by the government actually helping the people or is there a need for a better plan for the future:

The government is taking all the necessary steps to provide employment for all, but as there are many acts and bills for fulfilling the needs of the unemployed population of India there should also be proper functioning of them. An acceptable example of this scenario is the functioning of ration shops. According to studies done, the total consumption has grown up to 7.0% in 2021-22.

The government played an essential role in it and spent a lot on the development. The pandemic has the least impact on agriculture and allied sectors and is expected to grow by 3.9% in 2021-22. The plans made by the government are helping the people but there is still a need to have something that helps the nation grow higher and the future of the nation must be secure. We are using the resources constantly and recklessly well aware of the fact that the future generation might face problems because of us. Hence, we need to keep the future in mind while enjoying the facilities. If we leave nothing for the future generations then they might not be able to grow.

So, we all should help the government with proper payment of taxes and sincerely do the jobs that are provided by the governing bodies because they too want the best for the nation. It’s not just the work of the government but the people living in a particular country to help the country grow, help the below poverty line population get the basic needs fulfilled.  

4. Major reasons for the increase in poverty level:

Reasons for the increase in the poverty level of a country are as follows: Lack of proper education, low family income, unemployment, and political matters like Elections are the reasons for the poverty in our country.

1) Lack of proper education: the rural population is as important as any other class. There are fewer or in some cases no teaching faculties in those areas. There are schools being built in the rural side of the nation but due to a lack of teachers or let’s say skilled and educated teaching faculties the students are not being able to learn what they are supposed to learn.

2) Low family income: this too can be considered as one of the major reasons for poverty. The lower level of income in a family leads to several health, educational, and livelihood issues. Low-income families sometimes fail to give quality education to their children which later leads to poor employment opportunities. This is basically a situation in which the total income of a family cannot fulfill its total needs.

This can also lead to severe mental stress, which might be a reason for commuting suicide. It can mostly be seen in the case of farmers, most of the time they won’t get paid enough for their hard work. But at the same time, it’s not only a family issue but a national affair. 70% of the Indian population survives on agriculture for their livelihood.

The farmers usually can’t fulfill their family needs with their income, this pressures them to end their and their family life. This was an example in which it can clearly be seen that family income can affect national income. This example is a reality for many farmers. Similarly, there are many jobs or works done by people to get their livelihood which leads them to end their life. 

3) Unemployment: Unemployment is a scenario in which the government of a nation will fail to provide job opportunities for all its citizens. It can also be considered as a major reason for the downfall of a country’s GDP. As there will be fewer job opportunities, the people of a nation will start migrating to other countries in search of the source of their livelihood.

We can see this on a high note in India. This is proof of the low employment level in India. It is mainly because of the low literacy rate. Most of the jobs with high salaries are for well-educated people. Unemployed people usually join unorganized sectors. They won’t get many wages as compared to the organized sector’s workers. They will be pressurized to earn money for their family. That leads to severe mental and health calamities. This is again not a personal issue but a national matter.

These issues must be treated well as most of the Indian population needs a cure. The situation can be improved by the government in many ways, like:

1. providing food and education for needy and poor families.

2. creating more job opportunities within the country.

3. providing unorganized sector workers with more wages.

There are many more options in which the government can improve the employment level in the country. 


If a farmer sow seeds in a field, not every seed can be looked after and not all of them can be treated equally, in the bunch of flourishing grains there will be a dead and an unhealthy one.  It’s exactly the same with the poverty in our country (India).

There are several new schemes and policies made by the government that is being implemented on poor population, majority of the population is taking benefit of it but there are still few left, there are a few whose conditions are way worst than one can imagine those are the ones who actually need help from the government as well as the people. Corruption is a major issue that the nation is facing since the very beginning and it’s certainly not something that will vanish from the country easily.

We need to be willing to make the country flourish and for that, we need better education, employment, and several more things to be looked after in order to help the country flourish. But above all that there should be a feeling of humanity in the hearts of every citizen.

Author: Areeba Khan

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