A new measurement of poverty
BY : GEORGE PAILY
The National Food Security Bill is going to become a law. Even though there had been many efforts, to improve the standard of living of the marginalized sections of the society, the fundamental difference of the Bill is that it focuses to insure the availability of food grains at a free rate to these masses. The food security declaration of UN in 1996 says that it is the duty of a welfare state to insure food security of its citizens. The very root of their declaration implies that every nation is responsible to make available nutritional food for its people. The implementation of the National food security bill is based on this UN declaration.
The world in which we live is a picture of contrasts. On the one hand we have a few countries which are economically developed and prosperous. On the other we have mainly two thirds of population living in a state of poverty and dependency. The famous Indian Welfare Economist Amartya Sen defines ‘poverty is the inability to access basic standard of living’. The emphasize here is on the word ‘basic’. Basic standard of living means getting clean water, nutrition, health care, educational, clothing and shelter. According to the definition given by World Bank, people who earn less than $1.25 per day come under Below Poverty Line (BPL). On the basis of this definition 42% of Indian population fall under Below Poverty Line. According to the statistics of Planning Commission (2004-2005) 27.5% of the population live below poverty line. N.C Saxena Committee appointed by the Central Government says that 50% of the Indian population is still poor.
The newest estimation of poverty in India is done by Tendulkar Committee. The committee is lead by the famous Indian economist Suresh Tendulkar. He has adopted a new method to define and measure poverty. Beyond the definition of the World Bank based on the income earning, he considers health, education, sanitation facilities and amiability of nutritional food along with income earning.
Since 1972, the estimation of poverty in India was taken place on the basis of food calorie. The people who earn and income which is not enough to make available food from which they get 2100 calorie in cities and 2400 calorie in villages come under below poverty line.
Poverty is a relative concept. It is very difficult to determine a criterion that differentiate poverty and richness. According to beggars they are poor because they don’t get enough food to overcome hunger. There are millions of laborers who have work but don’t have even a hut. On the other hand there are people who have a shelter but don’t have income or employment. Before 2 centuries Adam Smith in his famous book “An Enquiry in to the nature and causes of Wealth of Nations” said a man is said to be rich or poor depending on the possibility of getting the living facilities to him.
Poverty is a situation which have multiple faces. It is the sum of non availability of income, shelter, health, education and drinking water. Its is the most vulgarous social and economic face of a nation. Mainly it is caused by the absence of resources. The largest number of people living below poverty line is in
According to food security act going to be implemented, only BPL families will get free good grains. But it remains as an unquestionable truth there are millions of poor people who are above poverty line only in the records. However it is the best time for the govt. for a rethink to make available this facility to those kinds of people also. To achieve the purpose we have to develop in a good public distribution system (PDS). A well developed public distribution system can resist food inflation to certain extent. In
A untited nations backed study conducted by Oxford University revealed that poverty in atlas 8 Indian States Bihar, Ulttarpradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were worse than in some of the poorest countries of Sub Saharan Africa. These Indian states and some of the African countries whose multy dimensional poverty index (MPI) was equal to or greater than .32. (The MPI was calculated 104 countries ranging from 0 to 0.64). These states along with 26 African countries fall below that cutoff. For