Poverty is the deprivation of opportunity. – Noble Laureate AMARTYA SEN

Who do you call the poor? Is there any specific criteria for considering them as poor? How do we measure poverty at National Level?

Let’s analyse it:-


Poverty estimation in India has been a matter of interest since independence,when Dadabhai Naoroji tried to establish poverty by taking into account the JAIL COST OF LIVING.

After that many committees were formed by the government to provide a better parameter for measuring the same.Dandekar and Rath Committee,Lakdaswala Committee and Alagh Committee proposed a calorie based poverty line.Later on the Rangarajan Committee proposed a Nutrient based poverty line including education,health expenditure etc.

The poverty line presently in practice in India is based on the recommendations of Tendulkar Committee,based on food and non food expenditure.So,for the Rural india the poverty line is at Rs.816 per month and for Urban India it is fixed at Rs.1000 per month.Using Mixed Recall Period.

Accordingly the government segregates the poor into BPL,APL(Below and Above poverty line).

There are other methods for calculating poverty at different levels-MULTI DIMENTIONAL POVERTY INDEX(poverty is measured on certain parameters like education, schooling etc 10 in total) and SOCIO ECONOMIC AND CASTE CENSUS(parameters like kuccha or pakka hourse,female heads in households).Recently Bihar passed a resolution to conduct a census based on caste.


  • According to Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report,

                 Top 10% population in india holds 52.9% of world’s wealth.

                  And Top 1% holds 95% of Indian wealth.

                 Pretty alarming Right?

  • Well according to World bank methodology, India hosts about 1/5th of the World’s poor.
  • Another UN Report -Millennial development goals state that about 21.9% of the Indians fall in BPL category(2011-12).
  • GDP per capita stands for India at $2099.5,whereas the world average is $11433.2
  • On Multi dimensional poverty index  by UNDP India ranked 67/107 countries with a score of 0.123.
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Another scale to measure the overall poverty of a country is GINI COEFFICIENT.which measures the income inequality in a country.This is then plotted into Lorentz curve.Where 0 coefficient would mean complete equality and 1 would mean complete inequality,

For India Gini coefficient stands at 0.50 (2019)- consumption-expenditure

As wealth estimate it was 0.83 in 2017.

Both conditions are on the edge of pushing people into income inequality.


  • 50%+ population engaged in agriculture which is a monsoon dependent occupation.
  • Disguised employment
  • Faulty methods of identification which leaves out lakhs behind.Eg- use of usual principal and subsidiary status has statistical incapability.
  • Illiteracy
  • Lack of Awareness
  • Red tapism
  • Dearth of opportunities
  • Lack of employment generation
  • Less skilled labour
  • Maximum Farmers hold a small and marginal landholding.
  • Manufacturing sector not able to absorb or create more employment etc



The discussion is not over until we achieve equity of wealth.With the objective to remove this income distance Government has been running certain schemes.

To name a few:-

  • MGNREGA- provides minimum 100 days of employment to rural poor for unskilled work.
  • PM gram sadak yojana
  • Startup India,Standup India provide mentorship and finance for entrepreneurs.
  • Skill training program under PM Kaushala Yojana
  • Reducing the lending rate from 26% to 10% by MICRO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS.
  • Free and compulsory education to children under Article 21A.Under this, poor students get admission on application to private schools as well.
  •  Antyodaya scheme
  • PM gramin awas yojana
  • PM jan dhan yojana etc
  • Reservation to Economically weaker sections under 103rd Constituitional amendment.

There are civil societies,NGOs providing guidance,financial support to the poor.Certain philanthropic organisations like Akshay patra,Tata Trust have immense made contribution.It is not just their duty to help,we are students,professionals should also come forward to help our compatriots.

It is when we at individual levels realise our moral obligations as members of this society ,we can achieve at least partial equity of wealth.So let’s lend a helping hand together to lift the nation.

There is enough on this planet for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.

-Mahatm Gandhi