Essay on Poverty as a Major Problem of India

The study of poverty invites invariably a number of questions: What is poverty? What is the extent or magnitude of poverty/What are the causes of poverty? How to measure poverty? What are the social effects of poverty? What are its economic and social dimensions? What are the effective solutions to poverty? etc. We shall try to find some satisfying answers for these questions.

Definition of Poverty

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1. Gillin and Gillin:

“Poverty is that condition in which a person either because of inadequate income or unwise expenditures, does not maintain a scale of living high enough to provide for his physical and mental efficiency and to enable him and his natural dependents to function usefully according to the standards of the society of which he is a member. ”

2. Adam Smith:

A person “… is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, the conveniences and the amusements of life.” – [Adam Smith in his "Wealth of Nations "].

3. Goddard:

“Poverty is insufficient supply of those things which are requisite for an individual to maintain himself and those dependent upon him in his health and vigour.”

Explanation Poverty in terms of “Poverty Line”:

The first Director General of FAO [Foo[Food and Agricultural Organization of the UNO] the first to explain poverty on the basis of ‘starvation line’ in 1945. According to him, an intake of less than 2300 calories of food per person per day, was considered the line of starvation and this has been transformed into “poverty line”

1. The Indian Planning Commission defined “poverty line” on the basis of nutritional requirements of 2400 calories per person per day for rural areas and 2100 calories per person per day for urban areas.

2. A group of Indian economists consisting of Prof. Gadgil, Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao, Dr. Ganguli,Ashok Mitra and Dr. P.S. Lokanathan worked out the poverty line in their own way. They recommended a standard of private consumption at Rs. 240 per capita per year at 1960-61 prices as the barest minimum.


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