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Day 30 – Q 1.How does poverty stifle human development? Can poverty alleviation measures address the problem of stifled human development? Critically examine.

1. How does poverty stifle human development? Can poverty alleviation measures address the problem of stifled human development? Critically examine.   

गरीबी मानव विकास को कैसे रोकती है? क्या गरीबी उन्मूलन उपायों से मानव विकास की समस्या का समाधान हो सकता है? समालोचनात्मक जांच करें।


According to World Bank, Poverty is deprivation in well-being and is multi-dimensional. It includes low incomes and inability to acquire the basic goods and services necessary for survival with dignity



  • According to the recent Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2019 report, between 2005-06 and 2015-16, India lifted 271 million out of poverty, significantly reducing deprivations in many of the ten indicators, particularly in “assets, cooking fuel, sanitation and nutrition”.
  • According to the World Data Lab — which monitors global poverty using advanced statistical models — less than 50 million Indians may be living on less than $1.90 a day now.

Impact on human development:

  • Reduced access– It reduces access to education, healthcare facilities etc.
  • Takes away choice– Poor cannot live life or get employed as per their choice as must work even in life threatening conditions to sustain their family e.g. death of miners in Talcher coal mine, who were working because of no alternative.
  • Increased mortality– Lack of nutrition and healthcare results in high mortality among poor.
  • Low awareness– Poverty reduces the time to gain knowledge and thus impacts the awareness and decision making like voting on rational basis.
  • Social life– Poverty serves as a modern day factor for social exclusion because of class based groupings.

Various poverty alleviation measures in India are MGNREGA, National Rural Livelihood Mission, Food Security, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, Ayushman Bharat Programme, PM KISAN, educational scholarships etc. 

Poverty alleviation measures can lead to human development:

  • Improved access– India has halved its poverty rate in the last 10 years. In absolute terms, the number of poor fell from 630 million to 360 million during this period. Thus those people now have better access to things economically
  • Improved living standard– Through public expenditure on social consumption needs like provision of PDS for food grains, education, health and water supply, people’s living standards improve.
  • Education and health– Programmes supplement the consumption of the poor, create employment opportunities and bring about improvements in health and education.
  • Safety nets– Pension and insurance schemes give safety cushion to poor so that he is not risk averse always and can make better choices in life.
  • Reduced inequalities– Provisions like housing, education and other material assets help to reduce inequalities in the society and improve community participation of poor.

Poverty alleviation measures may not always result in human development:

  • Poor choices– People who have been lifted out of poverty economically may not want to invest the increased income on health and education, rather on goods like alcohol.
  • Gender inequality– Economic upliftment does not correlate to gender equality in a patriarchal society like India.
  • Social exclusion– Poverty is just one factor of social exclusion, others like caste, religion etc still are dominant ones.
  • Hidden hunger– Improved economic levels do not always translate to nutritional food intake.
  • Ignorance– Ignorance is due to several social and institutional factors and poverty alleviation alone cannot remove it.


Poverty and human development are correlated and improvement in one results in another. However, along with poverty alleviation we need social reforms to guide people towards holistic development.

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