Poverty and Development in India




Poverty and Development in India:

Indian national policy has always associated political freedom with economic freedom. It meant the freedom to follow our own policies without compromise on national sovereignty.

Indian vision of the process of development in India had three aspects:

(i) Modernisation of the Economy:

Modernisation of the Indian economy meant industrialisation. Industrialisation would provide employment and increase productivity. The stress was on large scale industrialisation and factory production rather than small scale industries. This would provide employment to the growing labour force. During the Nehru years, the focus was on industrialisation and not on agriculture production. Land reform and irrigation were looked at as the means to achieve agricultural growth.

(ii) Self-reliance:

Self-reliance was associated with India’s freedom movement. One of the aspects of self-reliance was the ‘import substitution’ strategy. The focus was to develop an indigenous industry. India did take foreign aid from other countries, but the aid was utilised mainly in the public sector industry.

(iii) Socialist pattern of society with equity and social justice:

India adopted the approach of Planning for development. The Planning Commission was created that was expected to prepare Five Year Plans for the development of the country. Importance was given to the Public Sector industry and not the Private Sector. The Indian concept of socialism was based on the promotion of the welfare state and employment generation. This was the approach to tackle the problem of poverty in India.

Some changes did take place in the 1960s and 1970s. The 1960s saw a focus on agriculture. This was the period of the Green Revolution in India. India faced an economic crisis in the late 1980s. Indian public sector was not performing well. The various public expenditure programmes for social welfare and the removal of poverty were becoming wasteful. The Panchayati Raj Amendments to the Indian Constitution tried to bring in decentralisation of decision-making. But they were not very successful. India was forced to take loans from the International Monetary Fund to overcome financial problems.

It consists of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) through which the self-government of villages is realized. They are tasked with "economic development, strengthening social justice and implementation of Central and State Government Schemes including those 29 subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule." Part IX of the Indian Constitution is the section of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats. It stipulates that in states or Union Territories with more than two million inhabitants there are three levels of PRIs:

The Gram Panchayats at the village level the Intermediate Panchayats at the sub-district level and the District Panchayats at the district level. In states or Union Territories with less than two million inhabitants, there are only two levels of PRIs The United Nations Decade for Women was a period from 1975 to 1985 focused on the policies and issues that impact women, such as pay equity, gendered violence, land holding, and other human rights. It was adopted December 15, 1975, by the United Nations General Assembly by Resolution 31/136.

India has always recognized the link between economic growth and the quality of life of the people. It also recognises the need to combine economic growth with the objective social justice. ‘Growth with Social Justice and Equity’ has been India’s policy towards poverty and development. The Indian government initiated several programmes that sought to help the poor and promote holistic development. difficulties and prevalent gaps, India has made decent progress in reducing multidimensional poverty. According to the report, the incidence of multidimensional poverty has almost halved between 2005-06 and 2015-16, climbing down to 27.5 percent from 54.7 percent. However, pockets of poverty are found across India, but multidimensional poverty is particularly acute.


The Planning Commission was set up by the Government of India in March 1950 to promote a rapid rise in the standard of living of the people. One of its objectives was to formulate a Plan for the most effective and balanced utilisation of country's resources. The Planning Commission was replaced by the National Institution for Transforming India, also known as the NITI Aayog. It came into existence on January 1, 2015. NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs.

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