Top 6 Major Poverty Alleviation Programmes in India


The six poverty alleviation programmes are as follows:

A number of programmes have been initiated to tackle the problem of poverty, specially for the rural sector.

1. Integrated Rural Development Programme was initiated on October 2, 1980. The programme has been designed in a manner that the benefits flow to the poorest as the first priority. The small farmers get a subsidy of 25% of the capital cost while the marginal farmers share is 33.3%. The Landless labourers and rural artisans are entitled to a 50% subsidy for acquisition of assets.

The programme had set out to generate income of Rs. 2000 per family. However Mid-term appraisal of the Ninth Plan revealed that the average investment per family remained too inadequate to generate the target income per family.

The success of the programme would have been much higher but for the fact that selection of families is not always guided by economic and business considerations. Where the selected family does not have the requisite aptitude and ability to manage, the gains have not been commensurate with the subsidy made available under the Plan.

Presently all families having an annual income below Rs. 11,000 have been made eligible for assistance under IRDP. By the end of the Eighth Plan period, over 89 lakh families had been assisted. 50% families of the beneficiaries were SC/ST. However the target of assisting 40% women could not be achieved.

2. National Rural Employment Programme is the new name for the Original Food for Work Programme. It is centrally sponsored with the Central government providing 50% assistance. Under the Programme the target is to create additional employment of the order 300-400 million men days annually. The beneficiaries are to be the unemployed and the under-employed persons.

A critical assessment of the performance under the Plan shows that while funds are put in the programme liberally the output in terms of employment generation remains well below the target. The employment provided is of short duration and the wages paid are less than the prevailing market rates. Even the selection of beneficiaries is not always above board.

The most common works undertaken under the programme are development of kutcha road within the villages. The States are required to contribute 50% of the total Plan expenditure out of their resources. But what the States have been doing is that instead of pumping new funds, the existing programmes of the Public Works Department are shown as works under the NREP. In some cases the funds are spent over constructions involving high priced material components. In such cases to the basic purpose of utilizing locally available material and labour gets defeated.

3. Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme launched in August 1983 is a supplement to the NREP. Under the programme, the wages to landless labourers are paid partly in money and partly in food grains. The projects under the Programme are undertaken during the days there is not much to do on the farms.

The idea behind the programme is that at least one member from each landless family should be provided with 100 days of gainful employment. The projects undertaken under the Programme include improvement of minor irrigation facilities, reclamation of waste land, social forestry and soil conservation. The other projects covered under the Programme include Indira Awas Yojna and the Million Wells Scheme. NREP and RLEGP have many overlapping areas. It is now proposed to merge the two Programmes.

4. Jawahar Rozgar Yojna is implemented through the agency of village panchayats. The Central government provides 80% finance and the States share is a bare 20%. Funds are allocated to the village panchayats in proportion to the size of population living below the poverty line.

The target is to provide 50-100 days of employment to at least one member of every poor family within the village with a 30% reservation for women. It was assessed that 50% of the houses constructed under the Jawahar Rozgar Yojna were of good quality.

The average cost per house came to around Rs.13, 543. This expenditure has since been increased to Rs. 20,000 to cover cost escalation and for improving further the quality of construction work. Rural roads accounted for 33% of the total expenditure. Another 9% was spent on minor irrigation projects. Other beneficiaries include social forestry and schools and community buildings like Panchayat halls.

The impact of the Jawahar Rozgar Yojna in creating additional employment has not been satisfactory. While the target was to create 100 days of employment the achieved target has been just 11 days. (1993-1994 evaluation).

These programmes have an indirect positive fall out. With more money available for consumption in the rural sector, there is an increase in rural consumption expenditure. This increased expenditure also helps in creating new demands and consequently Employment Assurance Scheme was introduced in October 1993.

The aim of the scheme was to provide 100 days of unskilled manual work to the rural poor. All men and women above 18 years of age were intended to be covered under the scheme. However, the achieved target was only 41.3 days in a year.

5. Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna was launched in April 1999. Million Wells Scheme, and Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas have been merged in the Scheme. The scheme attempts to combine Bank loans with subsidy with a view to enable the beneficiaries to create income generating assets.

There is no monetary limit for subsidy in case of irrigation projects. In other cases, however, the subsidy is limited to 30% subject to a maximum of Rs.7500. A higher limit of Rs, 10,000 has been prescribed for SC/ST beneficiaries. The States have to contribute just 25% while the rest of the funds are being provided by the Central government.

6. Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojna is the restructured form of the earlier Jawahar Rozgar Yojna. It aims at generating additional employment opportunities for the unemployed poor in the rural sector. Wage employment is limited to those under Poverty Line. The scheme aims at creating village infrastructure and durable assets at village level such that additional opportunities for sustained employment are generated.

Source: Your Article Library.