Poverty is one of the major problems in India. It is the root cause of many socio-economic problems including population explosion, unemployment, and child labour and rising graph of crimes. Poverty alleviation should be the main target of the nation so as to make it a prosperous and developed country. Thus, poverty elimination is a matter of fundamental importance.Rather than getting drowned into swirling oceans of data we need to look into the factors which lead to poverty. Since India is predominantly an agricultural country, it is the largest source of employment. More than three-fourths of their populations depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Agriculture here is dependent on monsoon. Sometimes due to uncertainty and irregularity of monsoon, agriculture collapses. Foodgrains production declines. Often there is drought. All these adversely affect the income generation prospect. These combine to result in poverty. People do not have other means of livelihood; they are left with no other option except to starve.Unemployment and low-productivity have been significant causes of rural poverty. It is to address the problem that a national public work scheme, the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana was launched in 1989 to provide unemployment at the statutory minimum wage for unskilled manual labour, besides low-cost housing and to supply free irrigation well to poor and marginalised farmers. The programme has had a significant impact on poverty reduction. Besides, a number of other programmes for poverty alleviation are being carried on by government-Central and State.
As a consequence of attempts made by government, poverty showed a sharp decline in 1980s. This decline in poverty, to some extent, is also attributed to agriculture development of 1970s and 1980s resulting from the Green Revolutions. However, much more needs to be done, for India is the home to the largest poor population in the world. Basic necessities of life such as drinking water, health care facilities, etc. are still inaccessible to majority of population.
In this regard community participation and awareness campaign can make a difference. The media and the NGOs, besides other institutions have crucial role to play. The machinery involved in poverty alleviation need to be accountable, sensitised and sincere. New laws have to be evolved to ensure more accountability. The lack of transparency and accountability has hampered our economic development at all levels. A system of incentives and disincentives can also be of great importance. Thus, the situation is bound to change and society will be free from deprivation.