Policy Proposals For India is a continuously evolving research effort that aims to reach out to academics, researchers, media professionals and policy makers at all levels in government and corporate sectors of India. The website essentially focuses on some of the most challenging issues the country is facing, and at the same time offers concrete policy suggestions that can help them in achieving rational outcomes in their endeavours. It houses articles on topics as wide as public administration, strategic affairs, economy, social development, education, health, environment and science & technology.

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Why Poverty Exists?

Examining the existence of poverty in India despite billions of Rupees being spent on alleviating it.

By PPFI Team

November 15, 2008

The failure of poverty alleviation in a developing country like India is generally attributed to the unequal distribution of wealth. In India, several anti-poverty schemes like Indira Awas Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission and National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme have been launched. They were propounded as means of empowering the poor and helping them in economic upliftment. Several initiatives to provide microfinance to the poor too have been undertaken. However nothing seems to have any kind of impact on the status of the poor in India.


The fundamental issue that must be looked into is whether people are being employed productively. Without ensuring this, giving facilities like cheap housing will not work in the long run. If people are not engaged in economic activities that can generate income on a sustainable basis, they will be forced to sell the assets that the government has given to them. Thus there will be no visible change in their economic status.


The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme may provide employment for 100 days to people in rural areas but the emphasis is largely on infrastructure development. This approach fails in the long run as people are usually employed in labour intensive activities. Hence they do not acquire any technical or professional skills which can make them more employable.  


What is needed to be done in this regard is to create necessary infrastructure so that people of a particular region are engaged in professions for which resources are available in the nearby areas. The government must examine the natural resources of a particular geographical region and start employing the marginalised people of the area in primary sector industries related to it.


It should then build secondary and tertiary sector industries in the area with infrastructure facilities in terms of roads and other communication networks so that these industries remain well-connected to the market. The government can also initiate vocational training programmes on a region specific basis keeping in mind the natural resources available there. The skill-set that is taught to the people should enable them to exploit the natural resources available in the region. 

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