Dimensions of Poverty in Bihar
12 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2012
Date Written: September 13, 2011
The removal of nation wide poverty has consistently been one of the main objectives of Indian policy. The Indian modern history contains several examples of discussion on this topic as far back as 1901. India embarked on a series of Five Year Plans, each containing some kind of poverty eradication or social justice component. The First Five Year Plan was launched in 1951, since then, there have been ten additional plans, the most recent being the Eleventh Five Year Plan launched in 2007. The consideration of economic policies vis-a-vis their impact on the poor highlights a continued emphasis by Indian policy makers on poverty elimination. However, there have been serious shortcomings of government efforts in alleviating poverty during the past few decades. Even after sixty five years of independence, one - fourth of India’s Population still lives in poverty. Bihar is amongst the poorest states in India, with poverty incidence of 42.6 per cent. Per capita net domestic product has been estimated to be $ 446 for Bihar which is about one–third of the corresponding national average ($ 1220) and less than one-fourth of Haryana ($ 2052), one of the richest states in India (Government of Bihar, 2011). The recent studies based on primary data dealing with economic and non- economic aspects of poverty are not readily available which are needed to have deeper insights of different dimensions of poverty in Bihar, India. The present study is designed to examine various socio-economic dimensions of poor households in Bihar. the sample consisted of 160 households, 40 each from each sample villages. Data on various socio-economic aspects are being collected through panel interview with the help of well structured schedules by Resident Investigators. In the present study, data collected for the period 2010-2011 have been used for detailed analysis. Data relating to social class, education level, asset, livestock, migration, employment pattern, housing, and drinking water of poor households are considered for meaningful conclusions. This study is based on the information collected from 65 Below Poverty Line (BPL) households of four villages of Bihar. Bihar agriculture was stagnant in eighties and early nineties and observed poor growth up to tenth five year plan. In eleventh five year plan, there has been growth in agriculture sector in Bihar. Bihar is the second poorest state in India. During last 20 years poverty has declined by more than 14 percent but number of poor persons increased during the period. On the basis of analysis of household level data of VDS villages, it may be inferred that the education, land and asset poverty have been prevalent in Bihar villages. Landlessness and low per capita land are also causing poverty in Bihar. The majority of poor persons are getting employment in non-farm sector and migration is main strategy for maintaining livelihood of poor households in Bihar, but majority of persons migrated out-side state and were engaged mainly in non-farm sector. Their access to electricity, improved living condition and sanitation has been very low which may be the cause of their poor health. Despite various programmes of improving access to financial institutions, the majority of poor households of Bihar, particularly of less developed area are still dependents on money lenders for credit facilities. Various poverty alleviation programmes have not been effective in reduction of poverty up to desired level in Bihar. Hence, there is an urgent need to have holistic approach for improving various social and economic dimensions of state for faster reduction in poverty in Bihar.
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