Critical Assessment of the Poverty Alleviation Programmes of India [UPSC GS 2 Notes]

Poverty Alleviation Programmes are initiated by the government to uplift the downtrodden section of the society.  The results of such a program have been a mixed bag of sorts. This article aims to critically assess the results of such poverty alleviation programmes, which can help aspirants for the Mains GS-II and essay papers of the IAS Exam.

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Poverty Alleviation Programmes of India

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Before we go critically analysis of the programmes, it is important to know a few facts about this topic:

  1. There have been questions revolving around such poverty alleviation programmes that have been asked in the prelims and mains both of the UPSC Exam.
  2. Poverty alleviation programmes for UPSC is one of the important topics as it complements the current affairs.
  3. Candidates should always be updated with any such current governmental scheme that is for the upliftment of the people below the poverty line.

To understand the trend analysis of questions asked in the exam, candidates can check GS 2 Structure, Strategy and Syllabus page.

Below are given a few important poverty alleviation programs in brief for  quick reference:

Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana

Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY) is the restructured, streamlined and comprehensive version of the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY). It was started on 1 April 1999. The main aim of this programme was the development of rural areas.

National Pension Scheme (NPS)

The National Pension System (NPS) is a pension scheme sponsored by the government that was started in 2004 for all government employees. The scheme was made open to all citizens in 2009. It is a voluntary and long-term retirement scheme.

National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)

This scheme was started in August 1995. This scheme is sponsored by the state government. It was transferred to the state sector scheme after 2002–03. It is under the community and rural department.

Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana

This Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana scheme is aimed at creating housing for everyone. It was initiated in 1985. It aimed at creating 20 lakh housing units out of which 13 lakhs were in rural areas. This scheme also would give out loans to people at subsidized rates to make houses. It was started in 1999–2000. In 1999–2000, ₹1438.39 crores was used for this scheme and about 7.98 lakh units were built. In 2000-01 a central outlay of ₹1710.00 crores was provided for this scheme. It improved the standard of living in rural areas: health, primary education, drinking water, housing, roads.

To know more in detail about other Poverty Alleviation Programmes, visit the linked article

How effective the Poverty Alleviation Programmes have been?

Efforts at poverty alleviation have borne fruit in that for the first time since independence, the percentage of absolute poor in some states is now well below the national average. Despite various strategies to alleviate poverty, hunger, malnourishment, illiteracy and lack of basic amenities continue to be a common feature in many parts of India. Though the policy towards poverty alleviation has evolved in a progressive manner, over the last five and a half decades, it has not undergone any radical transformation. You can find a change in nomenclature, integration or mutations of programmes.

However, none resulted in any radical change in the ownership of assets, process of production and improvement of basic amenities to the needy.

Reasons for the Failure of Poverty Alleviation Programmes

Scholars, while assessing these programs, state three major areas of concern that prevent their successful implementation. Due to the unequal distribution of land and other assets, the benefits from direct poverty alleviation programs have been appropriated by the non-poor.

  • Compared to the magnitude of poverty, the amount of resources allocated for these programs is not sufficient. Moreover, these programs depend mainly on government and bank officials for their implementation.
  •  Since such officials are ill-motivated, inadequately trained, corruption-prone, and vulnerable to pressure
    from a variety of local elites, the resources are inefficiently used and wasted.
  • There is also non-participation of local-level institutions in program implementation.
  • Government schemes have also failed to address the vast majority of vulnerable people who are living on or just above the poverty line. It also reveals that high growth alone is not sufficient to reduce poverty. Without the active participation of the poor, successful implementation of any program is not possible.


Poverty can effectively be eradicated only when the poor start contributing to growth by their active involvement in the growth process. This is possible through a process of social mobilisation, encouraging poor people to participate and get them empowered. This will also help create employment opportunities which may lead to an increase in levels of income, skill development, health and literacy. Moreover, it is necessary to identify poverty-stricken areas and provide infrastructure such as schools, roads, power, telecom, IT services, training institutions etc.

Candidates can get previous years’ social justice questions in UPSC Mains GS 2 for practice, from the linked article.

Poverty Alleviation Programmes – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

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