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Essay on “Poverty Problem” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Poverty Problem

Essay No. 01

Governance is the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It consists of the whole set of processes, mechanisms and institutions through which the citizens express their interests, exercise their rights, meet their obligations and sink their differences. No amount of developmental effort can bring in improvements in the quality of life of the citizens without improving the governance standards. Conversely, if the power of the State is misused the poorer sections of the society are most likely to suffer. Poor governance, thus, perpetuates poverty and severely hinders the efforts to reduce it. It is understood all over the world that strengthening of governance is an essential precondition to improve the lives of the poor.

Initial years after independence were marked by the euphoria of emancipation from the foreign rulers. The entire politico-economic system was in the process of witnessing a host of changes, based on the experience gained. Various new statutes were brought in and the Constitution was also amended several times as per the changing and felt needs of the society, notwithstanding the political angles and desired populism by the ruling political parties.

Successive governments also strived to ensure upliftment of the poor and the downtrodden. While several schemes and programmes were framed for the betterment of the socially and educationally weaker sections, the women and the children, the government also introduced several schemes aimed at alleviation of poverty, as it was clearly understood that the country may not be able to achieve the goal of rapid development unless the poorer sections of the society also experienced increase in their incomes and became part of the mainstream bandwagon of economic development.

It has been experienced by the country over the past six decades that despite billions of rupees pumped in the rural sector since independence, through various schemes and programmes, the desired outcomes have not been achieved. The number of people below poverty line has declined but at a very slow pace and the results have not been commensurate with the quantum of funds invested by the government. Even from social point of view, it has been proved through many studies that there have been significant leakages in the expenditure made for the welfare of the weaker sections of society.

All this is strung pointer to the fact that the governance in the country needs improvement to achieve an improved delivery system. Over the last few decades, successive Five Year Plans have tried to introduce certain reforms through their broad-based objectives. Democratic decentralisation achieved through the strengthened Panchayati Raj System and the resultant social empowerment has been one major initiative in this direction.

The focus of other initiatives has been on transparency, people’s participation civil service reforms rationalisation of government schemes improving access to formal justice, improvements in land administration and introduction of information technology as a key to good governance. Enactment of the Right to Information Act has been a major breakthrough in bringing transparency in the government functioning and empowerment of the citizens of the country. Several economic reforms have also been taken up in the recent years.

Though the policy makers may be taking a lot of credit for all these actions, yet the above governance initiatives are not sufficient and a lot more remains to be done. Maintenance of law and order of the desired level remains a pipe dream in many States. The general perception is that the law and order machinery is generally inefficient, tardy and unresponsive Corruption is rampant, undermining economic growth, distorting competition, and disproportionately hurting the poor and marginalized citizens. Criminalization of politics continues unchecked, with money and muscle power playing a major role in elections. In general, there is high degree of volatility in the society on account of unfulfiled expectations and poor service delivery.

Targets to achieve

Any attempt towards reforms in governance in the future must focus on two things-the fulfillment of human potential and rapid economic growth. The broad objective of realising human potential includes the prevention of human sufferings, ensuring human dignity, providing access to justice and making available equal opportunity to all so that every citizen becomes a fulfilled and productive human being. Rapid economic growth, on the other hand, would result in realising the country’s real potential and provide India with an opportunity to play rightful role in the world to protect the interests of the people of the country, while ensuring that the people living below poverty line also get their due share in the growing prosperity of the country.

The role of the State in basic services needs to be clearly defined and emphasized. Ensuring access to speedy and efficient justice, protecting rights of the citizens, enforcing rule of law and maintaining public order are all inseparable and form the basic foundation of a civilised society, as well as that of the democracy. The deficiencies in this vital area need to be plugged through judicial and police reforms, better participation of citizens in governance.

Based on the past experience and best practices, we need to redesign our delivery mechanisms in the education sector in an innovative manner and deploy the nation’s finest talent to man these sectors. Inadequate and poor quality of school education is the bane of Indian society today. Except in case of some better institutions of higher and technical/professional education, higher education too is not very successful in promoting excellence and producing quality service providers, dynamic leaders, result-oriented managers and long-term wealth creators.

Urban management involves much more than resource allocation for infrastructure and poses formidable challenges of governance, considering high rate of urbanization and future projections for the same in the country. Management of power distribution through active involvement of people in a consumer-friendly way is more of a governance issue than a tariff problem.

Social security is a relatively new and emerging area of State activity to which the administrative system must respond with sensitivity. This would directly improve the lives of the poor. The recent enforcement of the employment guarantee law in the entire country and the efforts in the pipeline to provide a measure of social security to the unorganized sector workers can address the special challenges posed in social security, particularly for the economically weaker sections. But a lot more is required to be done.

In any system, the quality of public servants is critical in determining the outcomes of governance inputs. We have well-established procedures for initial recruitment of civil servants in India. But there is a growing concern that our administration in general has become unresponsive, rigid and inward-looking. While the bureaucracy responds to crisis situations with efficacy, complacency results in failure to deal with ‘normal’ situations, which is evident in most cases. The complex challenges of modern administration in critical sectors like police administration, justice delivery, education, healthcare, transportation, land management, infrastructure, skill promotion, employment generation and urban management need special attention. These areas impact the lives of all sections of the society, particularly the lives of the poorer sections.

There are no two views that the governance has been a weak link in our quest for rapid development with equity. The country has an impressive governance structure and several important successes to credit. But we need to consolidate the gains already made and venture into the virgin but vital areas of reforms in governance.

 

Essay No. 02

 

Poverty

Poverty is a worldwide phenomenon. There are very few nations that can claim to be entirely free of its effects. It is one of the more serious problems that most national governments face. However, despite their best efforts, no lasting solution for the problem has yet been found.

One of the main reasons for poverty is considered to be the limited availability and utilization of natural resources, in comparison with the demand for the resources. It is also believed in some quarters, that, if the world population increases excessively, the demand the increasing population will make on the available natural resources will be to the extent that, the resources will be totally exhausted in due course. But both these opinions are only partially valid. Though it is certain that the resources are limited, it is not yet known what their limits are. Therefore, it has not been possible to properly estimate the extent of pressure that our increasing demand for resources exerts on Nature the source of all our needs. We are also uncertain whether there is excess pressure on Nature at all; to the extent that the resources may be wiped out altogether.

Of the total extent of the earth’s surface, land areas, where human beings live, constitute only around a quarter. Of these areas, a third is arid, wasteland or forest, where human inhabitation is sparse, or non-existent. Thus, only a fifth of the total global area is populated by humans. It is difficult to imagine that humans, who are just one of the numerous life species that inhabit the earth, can, with all their indulgence and luxury, exploit the earth to the extent   that they will ultimately consume its resources, beyond the scope of replenishment. Hence, the problem of poverty may not is due so much to increase in population as it is to mismanagement of the available resources, or to unwise consumption practices. Poverty is more the result of people’s attitude to life than to the paucity of resources. As Gandhi said, “There is enough in this world for everyone’s need; but not for everyone’s greed.”

In the past, many more nations faced phases of poverty than the number now. German society, after both World Wars, and the Japanese and Italian societies after the Second World War, were ravaged by extreme poverty. But within a short span of a decade, by the hard work, determination and optimism of their people, who in turn were supported and encouraged by favourable government policies; all these societies made such magnificent turnarounds that, forty years hence, it is difficult to think that they had a disastrous past.

A comparison of India’s present economic scenario with that of these countries will lead to some interesting information. The backgrounds, along with certain aspects of the developmental process of the economies of India and of these countries, have a few significant similarities. India’s economy started its independent development in 1947; after the near-total destruction they suffered in the war, Germany, Japan and Italy started reviving their economies around the same time. The combined average population density of these countries is around 250 per sq km; whereas the figure for India is slightly less than 300. However, while these countries have developed without the advantage of natural resources, India commands a variety of natural resources, from iron to petroleum; fertile lands to forests. It was perhaps with the strength and vitality of their human resources that they could far outstrip India’s thrust for development. If their revival was like recovering from a brief illness, ours was like waking up after a long hibernation, which lasted several years, during which time, we apparently lost all urge and enthusiasm for development.

Whereas the people of Germany, Japan and Italy were united in their desire to progress, India’s population, or rather sections of it, guided purely by narrow-minded parochial thinking, pulled priorities all around; thereby nullifying the results of all developmental efforts that were undertaken.

However, the study of similarities and contrasts, as in the comparison explained above, has its limitations in practice. The temperament of Indians may be unique. No procedure successful elsewhere may fetch similar results for us. It is therefore essential to develop a line of thinking that is suitable for us, ourselves; the emphasis of which should be on collective effort by the whole society. It should also be remembered that there can be no direct solution to the problem of poverty, because apart from being very complex itself, it is linked to many other problems as well.

Universal basic education and creation of employment opportunities are two ways in which poverty may be effectively checked. But before we may expect to get benefits from education and employment, we have to take care of several issues like social discrimination and prejudices against certain occupations. Building factories or schools will not be of any use otherwise.

Sadly, the governments’ policy in this regard is unsatisfactory. The various governments we have had since Independence seem to have mistaken literacy for education. Literacy is only one of the several means to education; it is not education in itself. Whereas literacy only enables a person to read or write, education enables wholesome, healthy living by, besides other things, training people for efficient, productive employment. Such training should be with due regard to the needs for different types of employment. In short, there should be proper manpower planning.

Success in removing poverty may be achieved if the governments abandon their preference for piece-meal solutions and strait-jacket policies, which are neither consistent nor usefully coordinated. Aid and largesse that governments throw around are not sustainable solutions for poverty. Rationality, realism and dynamism are the key qualities essential for any policy on poverty eradication to succeed. The successful programmes of other countries that have helped them eliminate or at least minimize poverty, may be objectively considered. But these programmes will at best serve only as guides. We shall have to analyze them thoroughly and adapt them to suit our needs before we may adopt them.

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