NCERT Solutions for Class 9 Social Science Economics Chapter 3 Poverty as Challenge


Give an account of interstate disparities of poverty in India.


The proportion of people living below poverty line in India is not the same in every state. It is known as inter-state disparities. Though every state has witnessed decline in poverty but still the proportion of poor people is different in different states. The rate of poverty varies from state to state, leading to inter-state disparities. Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa are the poorest states in India. In states like Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, poverty has declined significantly.


Identify the social and economic groups which are most vulnerable to poverty in India.


Social and economic groups which are the most vulnerable to poverty in India are:

(i) Amongst the social groups, scheduled caste and scheduled tribe households are the most vulnerable to poverty in India.

(ii) Amongst the economic groups, the most vulnerable groups are the rural agricultural households and the urban casual labour households.


Describe poverty trends in India since 1973?


There has been a substantial decline in Poverty after 1973. The poverty ratio in India has declined from about 44.3 % in 1993-94 to 21.9 % in 2011-12. The dynamics of poverty can be seen on the two fronts, which are as follows:

  • Rural and Urban Poverty: In rural areas the percentage of people living below poverty line was 50.1% in 1993-94 whereas in urban areas it was 31.8%. The percentage of people living below poverty line has declined to 25.7% in rural areas in 2011-12 whereas in urban areas it has declined to 13.7. In rural area small farmers are amongst the poor whereas urban poor are working on dhabbs, working as rickhsaw puller, etc.
  • Interstate variation: Bihar and Orissa are continued to be the poorest state with poverty ratio 33.7% and 37.6% respectively in 2011-12. In Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengal, poverty has declined significantly. Punjab and Haryana have succeeded in reducing poverty due to high agricultural growth rate.


Do you think that present methodology of poverty estimation is appropriate?


The official definition of poverty captures only a limited part of what poverty really means. There are many factors other than income which are associated with poverty but these are not taken into account while measuring poverty in India. For example, common necessities like health care, safe drinking water, employment, education, shelter, etc. are not considered while measuring poverty line.

Social exclusion is another aspect which also needs to be incorporated in the definition of poverty.

Therefore, the definition requires rethinking.


Answer the following questions briefly (i) What do you understand by human poverty?
(ii) Who are the poorest of the poor?
(iii) What are the main features of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005?


(i) Human poverty is a broader concept of poverty.  The definition of poverty only captures the consumption aspect of poverty but it fails to capture other aspects of life which are imperative for surviving like education, shelter, health care, job security, self-confidence, etc.  It is widely accepted that the definition of poverty also needs to change. Thus, to capture maximum aspects of poverty, many scholars advocate for using the term “human poverty”.

(ii) Women, children (especially girl child) and old people are the poorest of the poor.

(iii) National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was set up on 2nd February 2006 by the Parliament. The Act promises 100 days of employment in a year to one member of every rural unemployed family. On 2nd October, 2009, this act was renamed as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. If the government fails to provide employment to the applicant within 15 days, he or she is entitled to an unemployment allowance.

It also focuses on sustainable development to address the cause of draught, deforestation and soil erosion. In MNREGA one-third of the proposed jobs are reserved for women.


Describe current government strategy of poverty alleviation?


Poverty has declined in India in last few years. Removal of poverty has been one of the major objectives of the government. The government has taken measures to eradicate poverty keeping in view two objectives:

  • Promoting economic growth
  • Anti-poverty programmes

The following programmes are followed to eradicate anti-poverty–

  • Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana (PMRY): It was started in 1993 and aimed to create self- employment opportunities for educated employed youth.
  • Pradhan Mantri Gramodya Yojana (PMGY): It was started in 2000 and aimed to create basic necessities like health, education, shelter and water.
  • National Food for Work Programme (NFWP): It was started in 2004 and aimed to generate supplementary wage employment for rural people, looking for unskilled manual work and wage employment.
  • National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA): It was started in 2006 and aimed at providing 100 days assured employment to every rural household, covering nearly 200 districts.


Describe global poverty trends.


To indentify global poverty World Bank defines the international poverty line as $ 1.25 per day.

The proportion of people living in extreme poverty in developing countries has declined from 43% in 1990 to 22 % in 2008. This decline in global poverty is marked with regional differences. Due to rapid economic growth and huge investment in human resource, poverty has declined substantially in China and South East Asian countries. The percentage of poor in China has declined from 85 per cent in 1981 to 14 per cent in 2008 to 6 per cent in 2011.

In south Asian countries Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh the pace of decline is slow. And another dismal fact is that though the percentage has declined, the number of poor has declined marginally (from 61 % in 1981 to 36 % in 2008).

In Sub-sahran Africa, poverty has decline from 51 % in 1981 to 47 % in 2008. Poverty has decreased from 11 % in 1981 to 6.45 in 2008 in Latin America whereas it has resurfaced in Russia.


Discuss the major reasons for poverty in India?


A person is considered as poor if his income is below a certain level and he is not able to fulfill his basic necessities, i.e., food, clothing and shelter. There are various factors causing poverty in India:

  1. Historical reason: Low level of economic development under colonial rule did not created jobs in India. The British government followed policies that ruined traditional handicrafts and discouraged development of industries. These pursuits decreased the income of Indian citizens and not created adequate job opportunities.
  2. High growth rate of population: High growth of population leads to the burden on scarce natural resources like land, which leads to poverty.
  3. Lack of job opportunities: Introduction of green revolution, created jobs but these jobs were limited only in few areas. Also, after independence industry sector failed to create adequate job. As a result, people are unable find proper jobs and they remain unemployed, thus, adding to the problem of poverty.
  4. Inequality of Income: From centuries inequality prevails in India. Inequality in distribution of wealth creates disparities between rich and poor. Therefore, the weaker sections of the society are becoming poorer.
  5. Administrative failure: several policies like land reforms have not been implemented properly and effectively by most of state governments. This has aggravated the problem of poverty in rural India.
  6. Illiteracy: It is one of the main causes of poverty which is aggravating the problems in India.
  7. Socio-cultural and economic reasons: In order to perform social obligations and to perform in religious ceremonies people spend lot of money and thereby stuck in the poverty.


Describe how the poverty line is estimated in India?


A person is termed as poor if his income (consumption level) falls below a given “minimum level”. This minimum level is threshold limit which is necessary to satisfy basic needs. In India, a minimum level of food requirement, clothing, footwear, fuel and light, educational and medical requirements, etc. are leading factors for the determining of poverty line. The physical quantities of these determinants are multiplied by their respective prices in rupees.

The present formula followed in India for food requirement is based on desired calorie requirement. The accepted average calorie requirements are 2400 calories per person per day in rural areas and 2100 calories per person per day in urban areas. The calorie requirements in rural areas are higher than the urban areas because rural people are indulge more in physical activities. The monetary expenditure per capita needed to buy these calorie requirements is termed as poverty line. On the basis of the calculations, the poverty line for a person is ` 816 per month for rural areas and ` 1000 per month for urban area in India in 2011-12.

Government of India revises this monetary threshold limit periodically taking into consideration the increase in prices.

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