Poverty – Not just a word but someone’s entire Life

Article by – Shishir Tripathi
Intern at Hariyali foundation in collaboration with Educational news

“Overcoming poverty is not just an act of charity, but an act of justice”

  • Nelson Mandela
    First black president of South Africa
    Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Human beings have started to live in the world of multi storey buildings ,limousines, air conditioned rooms, fancy 5 – star restaurants and having everything right at their hand by just throwing money on this which they want. They have forgotten the real essence and the real meaning of life.


Everyone says that one must live a really simple life, grounded to reality and believing in simplicity. But there are just few people living with the same level of simplicity. On one shore, there is a carefree life filled with all the luxuries and facilities but on the other side there is a world of hunger, a world filled with a daily challenge to just earn a onetime meal and a world with everyday complications to not die with hunger and other problems.


Poverty is a situation when an individual is not even able to pay for his basic needs i.e., food, clothing and shelter, sanitation, education and health care.


Moving ahead from the above definition, it is the inability to live a normal life. It is the state of having not a roof above your head in rains. It is something so unwanted that no one really wants to talk about it except the ones who in actual know what it is by either suffering from it or those getting closer to the people facing it.


In India there is a concept of poverty line. Those who are living above the poverty line are the ones who are non poor and those who do not meet the criteria of the poverty line are considered to be poor.


The old formula for estimating the poverty line is based on the desired calorie requirement. The calorie needs vary depending on age, sex and the type of work that a person does. The accepted average calorie requirement in India is 2400 calories per person per day in rural areas and 2100 calories per person per day in urban areas. Since people living in rural areas engage themselves in more physical work, calorie requirements in rural areas are considered to be higher than urban areas. On the basis of these calculations, for the year 2000, the poverty line for a person was fixed at Rs 328 per month for the rural areas and Rs 454 for the urban areas.


Recently, some modifications were made considering other basic requirements such as housing, clothing, education, health, sanitation, conveyance, fuel, entertainment, etc, thus making the poverty line more realistic. This was done by Suresh Tendulkar (2009) and C Rangarajan in 2014.


The Tendulkar committee stipulated a benchmark daily per capita expenditure of R27 and R33 in rural and urban areas, respectively, and arrived at a cut-off of about 22% of the population below poverty line. These numbers were considered unrealistic and too low. Later, the Rangarajan committee raised these limits to Rs.32 and Rs.47, respectively, and worked out poverty line at close to 30%.

India has been ranked at the 103rd position among 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index, says a report. According to the report, India is among the 45 countries that have “serious levels of hunger“. As per the methodology of the Suresh Tendulkar Committee report, the population below the poverty line in India was 354 million (29.6% of the population) in 2009-2010 and was 269 million (21.9% of the population) in 2011–2012.

And also, not all people above the poverty line are the ones who are living a normal life. These criterias are just techniques to find out average number of poor and needy people. But in reality there are many people who can’t even manage a square meal and a pair of clothes for covering the whole body.


Moving ahead of figures, it is solely not the government’s responsibility to help the needy citizens in the country but also those who are in better positions, they should also come forward to help the needy people living in the world of darkness.


Many politicians and Bollywood personalities have just simply adopted some villages with poor sanitation facilities and other problems. Some people help in eradicating poverty by helping the needy ones getting some jobs and also setting up of small production units encouraging employment for the women living below poverty line.


Adopting a healthy life style with a blend of proper habits of not wasting food, giving the extra or short clothes to the needy people and many more techniques that a common middle class person can follow and contribute in the eradication of poverty from the country.


A small step by an individual can fill a stomach; can cover a naked and shivering body, can give a roof above a family and can help building a nation with no person living in the world of poverty.

Data from NSSO and Jagran Josh.Com

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