ARTICLE 1: Reducing Poverty

Context: Key indicators available from NFHS-5 show significant improvements in access to electricity, sanitation, drinking water, especially in states recording high multi-dimensional poverty. But reducing multi-dimensional poverty in a country as diverse as India is a long-term process.

Key results of Multi-dimensional poverty index (MPI) by NITI Aayog

  • Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh figuring as India’s poorest states.
  • Report reveals that 25 per cent of Indians are multi-dimensionally poor, nearly three percentage points lower than the UN survey on MPI.

Challenges in reduction of reduction of multi-dimensional poverty

  • Over emphasis on short term schemes and programmes by GoI to reduce poverty rather than steady policy continuity.
  • Abrupt waning of the cooking gas scheme, Ujjwala, is a pointer to the problems associated with the short term route.
  • Climate change affecting sustainable development: With har ghar me nal” (a tap in every home) a drinking-water scheme, the bigger challenge lies in ensuring that the taps, which are easily installed in households, do not run dry because of a rapidly falling water table in parts of India.
  • Providing certain basic  amenities free is likely to exacerbate the shortages: As, target of electrifying all households, while admirable, demands the provision of 24x7, good-quality power, something that has long eluded India owing to politically determined and inefficient pricing policies.

Way forward: 

  • Focus should be on steady policy continuity such as family planning or the highway-building programmes — to reduce poverty: As reducing multi-dimensional poverty in a country as diverse as India is a long-term process. 
  • Sustainable reduction of multi-dimensional poverty through delivering socio-economic progress.
  • Address various structural issues through hard part of policy-making, demanding some amount of courageous bullet-biting.
  • Policymakers and non-governmental organisations should use the multi-dimensional poverty index (MPI), of  NITI Aayog to gauge the well-being of Indians on a wider set of indicators other than income  and similarly  formulate poverty reduction policies.

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Steady policy continuity; Sustainable poverty reduction; Multi-dimensional poverty

  • GS Paper 2: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.