Poverty is a multidimensional concept that encompasses the various deprivations that poor people experience in their daily lives. The first goal of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals is to end poverty in all its forms, everywhere. India has witnessed a decline in poverty through lifting 271 million people out of poverty from 2006 to 2016, according to U.N. reports. The Government of India has launched various poverty alleviation schemes to address poverty in rural areas and to ensure rural development.
4 Poverty Alleviation Schemes in India for Rural Development
- National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) was launched in 2011 by the Ministry of Rural Development and aided by the World Bank. NRLM aims to create an efficient and effective system for the rural poor to access financial services. To that end, the objective is to create sustainable opportunities by empowering and enabling the poor to increase their household income. In addition to income-generated assets to the poor — they would also be facilitated to achieve increased access to rights, entitlements and public services, diversified risk and better social indicators of empowerment. The mission aims at harnessing the innate capabilities of the poor and complements them with providing them the capacity to participate in the growing economy of the country. In 2015, the program was renamed to Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana (DAY-NRLM).
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (MNREGA). To ensure the security and livelihood of people in rural areas, this act guarantees a minimum of 100 days of wage employment. These measures apply to households whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled, manual work. All districts in India have coverage under MNREGA. Under this scheme, every person has the right to a job. If the state is unable to provide a job within 15 days of application, then the worker receives an entitlement to a daily unemployment allowance. To ensure social inclusion, women gain priority — such that some 33% of the beneficiaries under this scheme are women. Moreover, the robust institutions for grievance redressal and social auditing guarantee accountability and transparency.
- Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G). Due to the gaps in the earlier scheme for rural housing, titled Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) — it was restructured in 2016 to PMAY-G. Through this scheme, the government commits to realizing housing for all, by 2022. The aim is to provide solid and permanent housing with all the basic amenities including toilet, LPG connection, electricity connection and drinking water.
- Public Distribution System (PDS) aims to manage food scarcity and distributing essential food commodities at affordable prices. The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) launched in June 1997, to allocate food resources to the poor. The primary goal is to distribute essential food commodities like rice, wheat and kerosene at highly subsidized rates to the people living below the poverty line. This poverty alleviation scheme helps in addressing the issue of food insecurity in rural areas of India.
Empower the Rural Poor to Alleviate Poverty
According to the 2019 U.N. Human Development Report, 27.9% of the population in India is multidimensionally poor. With proper implementation of the poverty alleviation schemes, India can reduce poverty by empowering the rural poor with optimal use and management of resources. These schemes focus on targeting the multidimensional deprivations the poor face by providing them with food security, employment, housing and wages. Finally, the driver of these schemes is the objective to create sustainable mechanisms leading to rural development.
– Anandita Bardia
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