Anti-poverty Employment Programmes
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Published: Mon, 11 Dec 2017
1Several attempts has been made in the name of anti-poverty employment programmes and social security schemes to uproot the deep rooted Indian poverty .But the real objective to create income generating activities is missing All most all special anti-poverty employment programmes and social security measures directly serves the purpose of short term consumption needs as a remuneration or direct transfer payment There is the need of inclusive growth and creation of income generating activities through initial lump sum investment and training assistance for poor. Huge scarcity is being observed for entrepreneurial bent of mind from both government as well as from poor peoples’ side.
Poverty in India is deep-rooted in deplorable low level of income and unequal distribution of national income. Poverty can be defined as a situation in which a person fails to earn income sufficient to meet his basic needs i.e. food clothing and shelter for sustaining life. For a developing country like India three major factors are responsible for development; eradication of poverty, equal distribution of national income and employment for all. More or less all the above three are interrelated; poverty, inequality and unemployment are cause and effect of each other. For a trillion dollar economy like India there should not be any scarcity for basic needs but the reality is that the whole production of nation is being eaten away by its growing population. In the path of eradication of poverty, control of population growth, higher economic growth and income redistribution can play a vital role. Poverty has been a challenge for India regardless of its observed economic growth. To tackle the problem of poverty, anti-poverty employment programmes have been designed. Those anti-poverty employment programmes are related to resource and income generation for rural and urban poor, creation of supplementary employment opportunity for rural poor, the special area development programme and minimum needs programme ( Pathi, Nath, Dash, Das and Dash 2000).
The ability to earn of a man is a function of age, physical structure, mental and physical health. On the whole old age people are not able to earn their livelihood. In a country like India where scope for mental work to old age people is not wider and physical ability of them are negligible. Old age people seek assurance for life. Nuclear family system contradicts the old age assurance concept. Any way provisions are there in India for old age people.
POVERTY SCENARIO IN INDIA
Poverty is considered in two different standards in economic literature; relative poverty and absolute poverty. In the absolute standard, minimum physical quantities of cereals, pulses, milk butter etc. are determined for a subsistence level and then the price quotations convert in to monetary terms the physical quantities and for relative standard income distribution of the population in different fractile groups is estimated and comparison of the levels of living of the top 5 percent to bottom 5 percent or top ten percent to bottom ten percent reflects the relative standard (Datt and Sundharam 2007). In a developing country like India both relative and mass poverty exists. Relative poverty is a matter of distribution of national income where as absolute poverty is a cause and effect of itself. A poor man is not able to earn because he is poor, and he is poor because he is not able to earn. Here there is a serious need to make a poor enable to earn. Physically there is a need of a lump sum investment at a time which he can rotate for further growth and development.
In one and half decade from 1973 to 1988 the poverty line in rupees per capita per month has been increased more than double for rural poor and around three times for urban poor. There are six states where poverty ratio higher than the all India figure in 1987-88, Orissa (55.6%), Bihar (53.4%), Tamilnadu (45.1%) and Uttar Pradesh (42%) (Datt and Sundharam 2007).
Basically two factors account for high incidence of poverty among rural and urban labour households. First, poverty is due to unemployment under employment and second is the low asset base of the poor. There is the need of entrepreneurial bent of mind, a lump sum investment for both causes to get ride over poverty.
SPECIAL ANTI-POVERTY EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMMES
Rural Works Programme (RWP) was launched in 4th five- year plan with the dual objective to create employment opportunities in rural areas and creation social overhead capital. During six plan period a series of special anti poverty employment programme were launched; Small Farmers Development Agency (SFDA) to supply adequate credit to small farmers, Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labour Development Agency (MFAL) to help the marginal farmers and agricultural labourers with subsidy credit for undertaking dairy, poultry, fishery, piggery and horticulture, Draught Prone Area Programme (DPAP) to create gainful employment among the people of draught prone areas, Crash Scheme for Rural Employment (CSRE) to generate additional employment through network of labour intensive i.e. capital saving projects in rural areas, Minimum Needs Programme (MNP) for elementary education, health and nutrition, electrification and water supply, Food For Work (FFW) Programme to use a buffer stock of food grains as payment for partial and full payment for the labour rendered in some specific projects.
Following the fifth five-year plan period sixth plan in sixth five-year plan period, Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) to promote self-employment among poor with special emphasis on productive assets, The Operational Flood of Milk & Diary Project to provide marketing facilities to milkman families through cooperative system, Fish Farmers Development Agency (FFDA) to make the poor fisherman families form middlemen, National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) to tackle the problem of seasonal unemployment in rural areas, Training of Rural Youth for Self-employment (TRYSEM) to train two lakh rural youth per year for self employment and Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) for providing at least 100 days a year employment to one of the member from each poor family during sixth plan period. Accordingly till 1999 almost 23 anti poverty programmes were launched in India. But those programmes hardly pay a reward for poverty eradication. Those programmes are just food to mouth for a day or for a week. According to 10th five-year plan report India is home to 22% of world’s poor among whom 75% are in rural India. Where does the allocation for a long list of antipoverty employment programmes go? Providing wage employment for a day or for a week or month does not serve the purpose of poverty eradication through creation of long term productive assets for a regular income generation. Tenth five-year plan document also enumerates the success stories of self-help groups formed by a non government organisation for income generating activities like fruit processing but neither the planners nor the government considers this. It is also applicable at a global scale. On a world scale, the risk, intensity and severity of poverty have been fallen sharply in the past fifty years than in the preceding thousand years, yet in a large parts of the world the proportion of people who are too poor to afford enough food regularly, and the intensity of their poverty, are no less and in some cases more in 1995 than in 1945 (Lipton 1996).
Economic growth is directly related to poverty reduction (Taneja Myer 2007). As the Indian experience shows during ninth five-year plan period there was a ten percentage reduction in poverty from 37% to 27% as the Hindu rate of growth raised up to 6%. But it does not happen always. Any way the overall objective of Social Protection policy and Programme should be to abolish hunger so as to attain zero hunger at the end of eleventh five-year plan (Ministry of Rural Development Government of India 2006). Economic growth is the prerequisite for a positive change in three development parameters poverty, inequality and unemployment but not a sufficient one. In some cases other factors serve to reduce the effect of growth on poverty, for example unequal distribution of human and physical capital, by reducing the poverty growth elasticity, (Lipton and Litchfield 2001). Economic growth is extremely important it has to be accompanied by improvement in the quality of life of the people for the development process to be sustained in the medium to long run. More importantly it has to be inclusive in nature, (human Development, Poverty and public Programmes 2008-09). Unless and until poor are included in the growth process poverty can not be reduce rather relative poverty will increase in a larger proportion.
The objective of Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yajna (SGSY) has the objective of making the rural poor self employed. This will not be met unless and until it does serve the purpose of productive asset creation and skill enhancement with sufficient initial fund to invest the objective cannot be met.
POVERTY REDUCTION AND SOCIAL SECURITY
Interventions with poverty reduction as their principal objective included: welfare payments-cash or in-kind transfers; non contributory pensions; targeted price subsidies; public works; and social funds (Coady,Ghosh and Hoddinott). However additional employment opportunities to poor parents have the most positive effect on preschool-age children (from about 2 to 5 years old), and it appears that positive effect is partly due to increased income (Duncan, Gennetian, Morris). Moreover while earlier debates about welfare reform focused on the potentially detrimental effects of maternal employment on preschool and elementary school-aged children, emerging evident indicates that low income adolescents may be particularly vulnerable to policy-driven increases in maternal employment, (Hsueh and Gennetian 2006). In India non contributory pensions comes under social security measures like National Old age pension Scheme (NOPS) for over people over 65 years of age without source of income, Maternal Benefit Scheme (MBS) for monetary support for first two live births, Employees State Insurance for hospital and medical facilities to all industrial workers, low paid clerical staff and workers employed in hotels and business establishments, Social Security for Government Employees in the form of retirement pension, family pension, compensation benefits in case of injury or death during duty and medical reimbursement facilities. Indira Awas Yojana for free house to scheduled caste or scheduled tribe families and bounded labourers.
In the name of poverty reduction, anti-poverty employment programmes and social security measures do not lay a realistic role to reduce poverty which needs income generating activities are to be created for a regular flow of income. All the above mentioned antipoverty employment programmes are just providing a part of consumption needs of the needy people at random cross sectional point of times, which is meaningless for income generating activities. Many times those programmes work in the name of asset creation, let us take an example and see what happens in such systems. Suppose a village known as draught prone, people are suffering due to less yield from agricultural field. Food For Work (FFW) came to village which partly or fully the remunerations in kind (here food grains). People did work for tank rehabilitation for food which barely met their consumption needs for few days. It was the hope that the tank will stand against draught but in the very next year there was no rain and it invited another draught and the need for another anti-poverty employment programme
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