NCERT Class 9 Economics Chapter 3 - Poverty as a Challenge

Chapter 3 - Poverty as a Challenge

Question and Answers
Question 1: What is poverty? What are the dimensions of poverty?
Poverty means a situation where human beings are not able to fulfill their basic needs. The various dimensions of poverty are:
1. Poverty means hunger and lack of shelter.
2. It also is a situation in which parents are not able to send their children to school or a situation where sick people can't afford treatment.
3. Poverty also means lack of clean water and sanitation facilities.
4. It also means lack of regular job at a minimum decent level.
5. Above all it means living with a sense of helplessness.

Question 2: Identify the social and economic groups which are most vulnerable to poverty in India.

→ Social group
Scheduled Caste (SC)
Scheduled Tribe (ST)

→ Economic group
Casual farm labour (rural)
Casual labour (non-farm) (labour)

Question 3: Who are the poorest of the poor?
In poor families all suffer but some suffer more than others. In some cases women, elderly people and female infants are denied equal access to resources available to the family. That is why they are treated as the poorest of the poor.

Question 4: How is poverty seen by social scientists?
Social scientists look poverty through a variety of indicators.
1. Usually the indicators used relate to the level of income and consumption.
2. Other social indicators like illiteracy level, lack of general resistance due to malnutrition, lack of access to health care, lack of job opportunities, lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation etc.
3. It is also based on social exclusion and vulnerability.

Question 5: "Social exclusion can be both cause as well as a consequence of poverty". Justify the statement.
Social exclusion can be both cause as well as consequence.
1. According to this concept, poverty must be seen in terms of the poor having to live only in poor surrounding with other poor people,  excluded from enjoying social equalities.
2. It is a process through which individuals or groups are excluded from facilities, benefits and opportunities that others enjoy.
3. A typical example is the working of the caste system in India in which people belonging to certain castes are excluded from equal opportunities.

Question 6: Explain how vulnerability leads to poverty.

1. Vulnerability describes the greater probability of certain communities or individuals of becoming, or remaining poor in the coming years.
2. Vulnerability is determined by the options available to different communities for finding an alternative living in terms of assets, education, health and job opportunities.
3. It is analysed on the basis of the greater risks these groups face at a time of natural disasters, terrorism etc.
4. Additional analysis is made of their social and economic ability to handle these risks.

Question 7: Describe how the poverty line is estimated in India.
Each country uses an imaginary line that is considered appropriate for its existing level of development and its accepted minimum social norms. This is known as poverty line.
1. A person is considered poor if his/her income or consumption level falls below a "minimum level" necessary to fill the basic needs.
2. While determining the poverty line in India, a minimum level of requirement, clothing, footwear, fuel and light educational and medical requirement etc. are determined for subsistence. These physical quantities are multiplied by their prices in rupees.
3. The accepted average calorie requirement in India is 2400 calories per person per day in rural areas and 2100 calories per person per day in urban areas. Since people living in rural areas engage themselves in more physical work, calorie requirement in rural areas are considered to be higher than in urban areas.
4. On the basis of these calculations for the year 2011–12, the poverty line for a person was fixed at 816 per month for rural areas and ₹1000 for urban areas.
5. Despite less calorie requirement, the higher amount for urban areas has been fixed because of high prices of many essential products and urban centres.

Question 8: Why is calorie intake requirement high in rural areas compared to urban areas?
Since people living in rural areas engage themselves in more physical work, calorie requirement in rural areas are considered to be higher than in urban areas.

Question 9: Why has a higher amount of income requirement been fixed in urban areas compared to rural areas?
The higher amount for urban areas has been fixed because of high prices of many essential products in urban centres.

Question 10: Give an account of interstate disparities of poverty in India.
State level property has witnessed a secular decline from the levels of early 70s, the success rate of reducing poverty varies from state to state.
1. Recent estimates show while the all India Head Count Ratio (HCR) was 21.9% in 2011-12 states like Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh Bihar and Odisha had above all India poverty level.
2. Bihar and Odisha continue to be the two poorest states with poverty ratio of 33.7 and 32.6% respectively.
3. Along with rural poverty, urban poverty is also high in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Question 11: What are the steps taken by different state governments to reduce poverty?
There has been a significant decline in poverty in Kerala, Maharashtra Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengalm
1.States like Punjab and Haryana have traditionally succeeded in reducing poverty with the help of high agricultural growth rates.
2. Kerala has focused more on human resource development.
3. In West Bengal, land reform measures have helped in reducing poverty.
4. In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu public distribution of food grains could have been responsible for the improvement.

Question 12: Describe the major reasons for poverty in India.

→ Historical cause
1. One historical reason is the low level of economic development under the British colonial administration.
2. This resulted in less job opportunities and low growth rate of incomes.
3. This was accompanied by a high growth rate of population.

→ Irrigation and Green Revolution
1. With the spread of irrigation and Green Revolution, many job opportunities were created in the agricultural sector. But the effect was limited to some parts of India.
2. The industries, both in public and private sector, did provide some jobs. But these were not enough to absorb all the job seekers.
3. People with irregular small incomes, could not effort expensive housing. They started living in slums on the outskirts of the cities.

→ Income inequalities
1. One of the major reasons of poverty is the unequal distribution of land and other resources.
2. Major policy initiatives like land reforms which aimed at redistribution of assets in rural areas have not been implemented properly and effectively by most of the state governments.

→ Socio-cultural and economic factor
1. In order to fulfill social obligations and of the religious ceremonies, people in India, including the very poor, spend a lot of money.
2. Small farmers need money to buy agricultural inputs like fertilizers, pesticides etc. Since poor people hardly have any savings, they borrow.
3. Unable to repay because of poverty, they become victims of indebtedness. So the high level of indebtedness is both the cause and effect of poverty.

Question 13: Describe about global poverty  trends.
The proportion of people in different countries living in extreme economy poverty - defined by the World Bank as living on less than $ 1.90 per day – has fallen from 36% in 1990 to 10% in 2015.
1. Number of poors in China have come down from 88.3% in 1981 to 14.7% in 2008 to 0.7% in 2015.
2. In the Countries Of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan) the decline has also been rapid 34% in 2005 to 16.2% in 2013.
3. In Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty in fact declined from 51 % in 2005 to 41% in 2015.
4. In Latin America, the ratio of poverty has also declined from 10 % in 2005 to 4% in 2015.

Question 14: Describe the various anti-poverty programmes introduced by the government of India to alleviate/eradicate poverty.





Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act


Aims to provide 100 days of wage employment to every household to ensure livelihood security in rural areas. It also aimed at sustainable development to address the cause of draught, deforestation and soil erosion. One-third of the proposed jobs have been reserved for women.

Prime Minister Rozgar Yozana (PMRY)


The aim of the programme is to create self-employment opportunities for educated unemployed youth in rural areas and small towns.

Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP)


The aim of the programme is to create self employment opportunities in rural areas and small towns.

Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yozana (SGSY)


The programme aims at bringing the assisted poor families above the poverty line by organizing them into self help groups through a mix of bank credit and government subsidy.

Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yozana (PMGY)


Additional central assistance is given to states for basic services such as primary health, education, rural shelter, rural drinking and electrification.

Antyodaya Anna Yozana (AAY)


Under this scheme, 1 crore of the poorest among the BPL families covered under the targeted public distribution system were identified. 25 kg of food grains were made available to each eligible family at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 2 per kg for wheat and Rs 3 per kg for rice. This quantity has been enhanced from 25 to 35 kg. The scheme was further expanded twice by additional 50 lakh BPL families in June 2003 and in August 2004.


Question 15: Describe about the anti-poverty strategy of the government based on promotion of economic growth.
Since the eighties, India's economic growth has been one of the fastest in the world.
1. The higher growth rate have helped significantly in the reduction of the poverty.
2. There is a strong link between economic growth and poverty reduction. Economic growth widens opportunities and provides the resources needed to invest in human development.
3. This also encourages people to send the children, including the girl child, to school in the hope of getting better economic returns from investing in education.

Question 16: What were the criticisms levelled against poverty challenges?
1. Poverty has certainly declined in India. But despite the progress, poverty reduction remains India's most compelling challenge.
2. Wide disparities in poverty are visible between rural and urban areas among different states.
3. Certain social and economic groups are more vulnerable to poverty.

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