Poverty alleviation programmes in India
Poverty Alleviation Programmes in India UPSC
This is an important section in the polity segment of the UPSC syllabus for the IAS exam.
The Indian Constitution and five year plans state social justice as the primary purpose of the developmental strategies of the government. To quote the First Five Year Plan (1951-56), “the urge to bring economic and social change under present conditions comes from the fact of poverty and inequalities in income, wealth and opportunity”. – The Second Five Year Plan (1956-61) also pointed out that “the benefits of economic development must accrue more and more to the relatively less privileged classes of society”. One can find, in all policy documents, emphasis being laid on poverty alleviation and that various strategies need to be adopted by the government for the same. – The government’s approach to poverty reduction was of three dimensions. The first one is a growthoriented approach. It is based on the expectation that the effects of economic growth — rapid increase in gross domestic product and per capita income — would spread to all sections of society and will trickle down to the poor sections also. This was the major focus of planning in the 1950s and early 1960s. – It was felt that rapid industrial development and transformation of agriculture through green revolution in select regions would benefit the underdeveloped regions and the more backward sections of the community. Population growth has resulted in a very low growth in per capita incomes. The gap between poor and rich has actually widened. The Green Revolution exacerbated the disparities regionally and between large and small farmers. There were unwillingness and inability to redistribute land. Economists state that the benefits of economic growth have not trickled down to the poor. – While looking for alternatives to specifically address the poor, policymakers started thinking that incomes and employment for the poor could be raised through the creation of additional assets and by means of work generation. This could be achieved through specific poverty alleviation programmes. This second approach has been initiated from the Third Five Year Plan (1961-66) and progressively enlarged since then. One of the noted programmes initiated in the 1970s was Food for Work. – Most poverty alleviation programmes executed are based on the perspective of the Five Year Plans (2002-2007) Expanding self employment programmes and wage employment programmes are being considered as the major ways of addressing poverty. Examples of self employment programmes are Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP), Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) and Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY). The first programme aims at creating self employment opportunities in urban areas. – The Khadi and Village Industries Commission is implementing it. Under this programme, one can get financial assistance in the form of bank loans to set up small industries. The educated unemployed from low income families in rural and urban areas can get financial help to set up any kind of enterprise that generates employment under PMRY. SJSRY mainly aims at creating employment opportunities—both self-employment and wage employment—in urban areas. Earlier, under self-employment programmes, financial assistance was given to families or individuals. Since the 1990s, this approach has been changed. Now those who wish to benefit from these programmes are encouraged to form self-help groups. Initially, they are encouraged to save some money and lend among themselves as small loans. Later, through banks, the government provides partial financial assistance to SHGs which then decide whom the loan is to be given to for self employment activities. Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) is one such programme. This has now been restructured as National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM). The government has a variety of programmes to generate wage employment for the poor unskilled people living in rural areas. Some of them are National Food for Work Programme (NFWP) and Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY). In August 2005, the Parliament has passed a new Act to provide guaranteed wage employment to every household whose adult volunteer is to do unskilled manual work for a minimum of 100 days in a year. This Act is known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. Under this Act all those among the poor who are ready to work at the minimum wage can report for work in areas where this programme is executed. In 2011- 12, nearly 4 crore households have been provided employment. – The third approach to addressing poverty is to provide minimum basic amenities to the people. India was among the pioneers in the world to envisage that through public expenditure on social consumption needs — provision of food grains at subsidised rates, education, health, water supply and sanitation—people’s living standard could be improved. Programmes under this approach are expected to supplement the consumption of the poor, create employment opportunities and bring about improvements in health and education. – One can trace this approach from the Fifth Five Year Plan, “even with expanded employment opportunities, the poor will not be able to buy for themselves all the essential goods and services. They have to be supplemented up to at least certain minimum standards by social consumption and investment in the form of essential food grains, education, health, nutrition, drinking water, housing, communications and electricity.” – Three major programmes that aim at improving the food and nutritional status of the poor are Public Distribution System, Integrated Child Development Scheme and Midday Meal Scheme. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana, Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana are also attempts in the same direction. It may be essential to briefly state that India has achieved satisfactory progress in many aspects. The government also has a variety of other social security programmes to help a few specific groups. National Social Assistance Programme is one such programme initiated by the central government. Under this programme, elderly people who do not have anyone to take care of them are given pension to sustain themselves. Poor women who are destitute and widows are also covered under this scheme. The government has also introduced a few schemes to provide health insurance to poor people.
NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE ACT
- executed by the Ministry of Rural Development, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is the flagship programme of the Government that directly touches lives of the poor and promotes inclusive growth.
- The Act aims at enhancing livelihood security of households in rural areas of the country by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilleld manual work.
- The Act came into force on February 2, 2006 and was executed in a phased manner.
- NREGA is the first ever law internationally, that guarantees wage employment at an unprecedented scale. The primary purposeof the Act is augmenting wage employment.
- Its auxiliary purposeis strengthering natural resource management through works that address causes of chronic poverty like drought, deforestation and soil erosion and so encourage sustainable development.
SAMPOORNA GRAMEEN ROZGAR YOJANA
- The Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) was launched on 25 September, 2001 by merging
the on-going schemes of EAS and the JGSY with the purposeof providing additional wage employment and food security, alongside creation of durable community assets in rural areas.
- The programme is self-targeting in nature with provisions for special emphasis on women, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and parents of children withdrawn from hazardous occupations.
- While preference is given to BPL families for providing wage employment under SGRY, poor families above the poverty line can also be offered employment under NREGA. The annual outlay for the programme is Rs.10,000 crore which includes 50 lakh tonnes on food grains
- The cash component is shared between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25. Food grains are provided free of cost to the States/UTs.
- The programme is executed by all the three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions. NATIONAL FOOD FOR WORK PROGRAMME
- The National Food for Work Programme was launched in November 2004 in 150 most backward districts of the country, identified by the Planning Commission in consultation with the Ministry of Rural Development and the State governments.
- The purposeof the programme was to provide additional resources apart from the resources available under the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) to 150 most backward districts of the country so that generation of supplementary wage employment and providing of food-security through creation of need based economic, social and community assets in these districts are further intensified.
- The scheme was 100 per cent Centrally sponsored.
- The programme has since been subsumed in National Rural Employment Guarantee Act which has come in force in 200 identified districts of the country including 150 NFFWP districts.
- PRADHAN MANTRI SADAK YOJANA
- The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) was launched on 25 December 2000 as a fully funded Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
- The primary purposeof the PMGSY is to provide connectivity to all the eligible unconnected habitations of more than 500 persons in the rural areas (250 persons in the hilly and desert areas) by good quality all-weather roads.
- Under Bharat Nirman, goal has been set to provide connectivity to all the habitations with population of more than 1000 in the plain areas and habitations with a population of 500 or more in hilly and tribal areas in a time-bound manner by 2009.
- The systematic upgradation of the existing rural road networks is also an integral component of the scheme. Accordingly, an Action Plan has been prepared for connecting 66,802 habitations with 1,46,185 km of all-weather roads. This Action Plan also envisages upgradation/renewal of 1,94,130 km of the existing rural road network.
NATIONAL SOCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME
- Article 41 of the Constitution of India directs the State to provide public assistance to its citizens in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want within the limit of its economic capacity and development.
- In accordance with the Directive Principles of State Policy, the Government of India introduced in 1995 the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) to lay foundation to a National Policy for Social Assistance for the poor.
The NSAP aims at ensuring minimum national standard for social assistance in addition to the benefits that state are currently providing or might provide in future. At present NSAP comprises Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and Annapurna. SWARNAJAYANTI GRAM SWAROJGAR YOJNA
- Launched in April, 1999, this scheme covers all aspects of self employment such as organisation of the poor into self help groups, credit, training, infrastructure, technology and marketing.
- The purpose of this program is to offer sustainable income to the rural poor. The programme aims at establishing many micro-enterprises in the rural areas as per the rural poor’s potential. It is envisioned that every family assisted under this scheme will be brought above the poverty line within a period of 3 years.
- This scheme covers families below the poverty line in rural places of the country. Within this target group, there is a reservation safeguard for different categories: SC/ST – 50%, women – 40% and physically handicapped – 3%.
- Based on the availability of funds, it looks to cover 30% of the rural poor in each block in the next five years.
- It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and funding is shared by the Central and State Governments in the ratio of 75:25 respectively.
- SGSY is a Credit-cum-Subsidy programme. It covers all aspects of self-employment, such as organisation of the poor into self-help groups, training, credit technology, infrastructure and marketing. Efforts would be made to involve women members in each self-help group. SGSY lays emphasis on activity clusters. Four-five activities will be identified for each block with the approval of Panchayat Samities. The Gram sabha will authenticate the list of families below the poverty line identified in BPL census. Identification of individual families suitable for each key activity will be made through a participatory process. Closer attention will be paid on skill development of the beneficiaries, known as swarozgaris, and their technology and marketing needs.
JAWAHAR GRAM SAMRIDDHI YOJNA
- Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojna (JGSY) is a rehashed version of the former Jawahar Rozagar Yojana. It was launched on 1st April, 1999. The chief purposeof the program is the development of demand-driven community village infrastructure that includes durable assets at the village level and assets to enable the rural poor to improve the opportunities for sustained employment. The secondary purposeis the generation of supplementary employment for the unemployed poor. The wage employment under the programme would be given to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.
- It is executed entirely at the village Panchayat level. Village Panchayat is the only authority for preparation of the Annual Plan and its implementation.
- Centrally Sponsored Scheme on cost sharing basis between the Centre and the State in the ratio of 75:25 respectively.
- The programme would be executed by the Village Panchayats with the Gram Sabha’s approval. No other administrative or technical approval is needed. For works/schemes costing more than 50,000/-, after taking the approval of the Gram Sabha, the Village Panchayat shall seek the technical/administrative approval of appropriate authorities. Panchayats may spend up to 15% of allocation on maintenance of assets generated under the scheme within its geographical boundary. 22.5% of JGSY funds have been earmarked for individual beneficiary schemes for SC/STs. 3% of annual allocation would be used for the creation of barrier-free infrastructure for disabled people. The funds to the Village Panchayats will be allocated on the basis of the population. The upper ceiling of 10,000 population has been removed.
INDIRA AAWAS YOJNA
- IAY is the flagship rural housing scheme which is being executed by the GOI with an aim of giving shelter to the poor below the poverty line. The allocation of funds under this scheme would be on the basis of poverty ratio and housing shortage.
- The purpose of IAY is chiefly to help construction of new dwelling units as well as the conversion of unserviceable kutcha houses into pucca/semi-pucca by members of SC/STs, freed bonded laborers and also non-SC/ST rural poor below the poverty line by extending them grant-in-aid.
- It is a beneficiary-oriented scheme for providing houses for SC/ST households who are victims of atrocities, households headed by widows/unmarried women and SC/ST households who are below the poverty line. This scheme has been effective from 1st April 1999.
- It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme funded on cost sharing basis between the Central government and the States in the ratio of 75:25 respectively.
- Grant of Rs. 20,000/- per unit is provided in the plain areas and Rs. 22,000/- in hilly/difficult areas for the construction of a house. For conversion of a kutcha house into a pucca house, Rs. 10,000/- is provided. Sanitary latrines and chulhas are an important part of the house. In construction/upgradation of the house, cost-effective and environment-friendly technologies, materials and designs are promoted. The household is alloted in the name of a female member of the beneficiary household.
- District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) has been the principal organ at the District level to oversee the execution of the anti-poverty programmes of the Rural Development Ministry. Created originally for execution of Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), the DRDAs were subsequently entrusted with a number of Central and State Governments programmes. Since its inception, the administrative costs of the DRDA (District Rural Development Agency) were met by setting aside a part of the allocations for each programme. Of late, the number of programmes had increased and many programmes have been rehashed with a view to making them more effective. While an indicative staffing structure was provided to the DRDAs, experience showed that there was no uniformity in the staffing structure. It is in this context that a new centrally sponsored scheme – DRDA Administration – has been brought out from 1st April, 1999 based on the recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee known as Shankar Committee. The new scheme replaces the earlier practice of allocating percentage of programme funds to the administrative costs.
- The purpose of the scheme of DRDA (District Rural Development Agency) Administration is to strengthen the DRDAs and to make them more professional and effective. Under the scheme, DRDA is visualised as specialised agency capable of managing anti-poverty programmes of the Ministry on the one hand and effectively relate these to the overall efforts of poverty eradication in the district on the other.
- The funding pattern of the programme will be in the ratio of 75:25 between the Centre and the States.
- The DRDA will continue to monitor and ensure effective utilisation of the funds intended for anti-poverty programmes. It will need to develop distinctive capabilities for poverty eradication. It will perform functions which are different from Panchayati Raj Institutions and line departments. The DRDAs would handle only the anti-poverty programmes of the Rural Development Ministry. If DRDAs are to be entrusted with programmes of other Ministries or those of the State Governments, they would have a definite anti-poverty focus.
BASIC MINIMUM SERVICES
- The GOI launched this scheme in 1997 incorporating 7 vital services of importance to common people. The State Government has opted to provide shelter to shelter-less below poverty line under this scheme.
- The purpose of providing this scheme is to supplement the constitution of dwelling units for members of SC/ST, freed bonded labour and also non-SC/ST rural poor below the poverty line by providing them with grant.
- The Central Government provides additional funds for Basic Minimum Services subject to the condition that the State Government will provide 15% of the required funds.
Execution: Additional Indira Awas are being constructed with the guidelines analogous to that for the Awas Yojana. The salient features are: Rs. 20,000/- is provided to the beneficiaries for construction of the houses in phases. Sanitary latrines and smokeless chulah are integral part of the houses.
- Houses are allotted in the name of female members of the family or in joint names of both spouses.
- Selection of construction technology, materials and design is left entirely to the choice of beneficiaries. Contractors, Middlemen or the Departmental Agencies have no role in the construction of houses.
- Cost effective and environment-friendly housing technologies/design and materials are provided.
- A sum of Rs 364.07 crores and Rs 383.32 crores were allocated during 1997-98 & 1998-99, and a sum of Rs 419.04 crores is to be allocated during 1999-2000, which have led to completion of over three lakh houses upto December 1999.
- The State Govt. launched a scheme in 1980-81 to enable the members of legislature to execute the small schemes of their choice that are developmental and are based on immediate felt local needs, as per the guidelines issued for this purpose. Under this scheme Rs.50.00 lakh has to be provided to each member of the State Legislative.
- The purpose of this scheme is to facilitate immediate execution of locally important schemes, whose execution may otherwise span over a large period – as per the list of Do’s and Don’t indicated in the guidelines.
- This is a State Plan Scheme whose expenditure is fully borne by the State Government.
- Each legislator is supposed to indicate choice of schemes to the tune of Rs fifty lakhs per year to be taken up in his/her constituency to the concerned Deputy Development Commissioner, which will get them executed by following the established procedures contained in the guidelines and circulars issued by the Rural Development Department.
DROUGHT-PRONE AREAS PROGRAMME
- The Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) aims at mitigating the adverse effects of drought on the production of crops and livestock and productivity of land, water and human resources. It strives to encourage restoration of ecological balance and seeks to improve the economic and social conditions of the poor and the disadvantaged sections of the rural community.
- DPAP is a people’s programme with Government assistance. There is a special arrangement for maintenance of assets and social audit by Panchayati Raj Institutions. Development of all categories of land belonging to Gram Panchayats, Government and individuals fall within the limits of the selected watersheds for development.
- Allocation is to be shared equally by the Centre and State Govt. on 75:25 basis. Watershed community is to contribute for maintenance of assets created. Utilisation of 50% of allocation under the Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS) is for the watershed development. Funds are directly released to Zila Parishads/District Rural Development Agencies (DRDAs) to sanction projects and release funds to Watershed Committees and Project Implementation Agencies.
- Village community, including self-help/user groups, undertake area development by planning and implementation of projects on watershed basis through Watershed Associations and Watershed Committees constituted from among themselves. The Government supplements their work by creating social awareness, imparting training and providing technical support through project implementation agencies.
MP LOCAL AREA DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
- Launched in December 1993 as a central sector scheme to enable Members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to execute the schemes of their choice that are developmental and based on locally felt needs within the guidelines for this purpose.
- The fundamental purpose of this programme is to enable immediate execution of small but locally important schemes, whose execution may otherwise span over a huge period. The works which can be carried out under this scheme are – construction of buildings for schools, hostels, libraries and shelter for old/handicapped, construction of link/approach roads, culverts/bridges, public irrigation and public drainage facilities etc. as indicated in the guidelines.
- The Government of India provides cent-percent fund for this scheme. Each MP has the choice to suggest work to the tune of Rs. Two crores per year to be taken up in his/her constituency.
- Execution of this scheme is done through the detailed guidelines and circulars issued from time to time on matters relating to operational details by the Department of Programme Implementation, Govt. of India
CREDIT-CUM-SUBSIDY SCHEME FOR RURAL HOUSING
- There were a large number of households in the rural areas which could not be covered under the IAY, as either they do not fall into the range of eligibility or due to the limits imposed by the available budget. On the other hand due to limited repayment capacity, these rural households cannot take benefit of fully loan based schemes offered by some of the housing finance institutions. The need of this majority can be met through a scheme which is part credit and part subsidy based.
- The purpose of this scheme for rural housing is to facilitate construction of houses for rural families who have some repayment capacity. The scheme aims at eradicating shelterlessness from the rural area of the country.
- The scheme provides shelter to rural families who have not been coveted under IAY and who are desirous of possessing a house. All rural households having annual income up to Rs. 32,000/- are covered under this scheme.
- The funds are shared by the Centre and the State in the ratio of 75:25 respectively.
- Rural poor just above the poverty line are entitled to get the benefits of the scheme. A maximum subsidy of Rs. 10,000/- per unit is provided for the construction of a house. Sanitary latrine and smokeless chulha are integral part of the house. Cost effective and enviornment friendly technologies, materials, designs, etc. are encouraged. Sixty per cent (60%) of the houses are allocated to SC/ST rural poor.
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