What does the term poverty mean ?


It means not possessing the ability to acquire the minimum basic needs for a decent human existence like food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care. Those who are unable to satisfy these needs are below the poverty line.

The concept of ‘the poverty line’ has been developed by economists to define and understand this problem and try to overcome it. The problem of poverty is widespread and complex in our country. For the country as a whole, thirty-six per cent people were below poverty line in the year 1993-94. The number of poor in the country remained more or less stable at around three hundred twenty million due to the rise in population.

Poverty affects the development of a country by forming a vicious circle. A large number of people do not get proper nourishment.


Therefore, they become physically weak and are unable to work efficiently. For this reason the overall production declines which in turn affects the economic progress of a country. Since economic progress is hampered, people remain in the grip of poverty.

There are three main causes of poverty in our country-deficiency in economic growth, lack of education and skills, and overpopulation. Our government has introduced several short-term relief measures like The Employment Assurance Scheme, National Social Assistance Programme, Prime Minister’s Integrated Urban Poverty Alleviation Programme, etc. to tackle this problem but only proper planning can help our economy to grow.


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