Programmes in india for poverty prevention

Tarkeshwar Pandey

Poverty has traditionally been defined in income or expenditure terms and can be viewed in relative or absolute terms. Poverty and food security are complex and multidimensional in nature. Poverty leads to under nutrition and food insecurity by limiting poor people's access to food. About three-fourth of India's population living in the rural sector is reeling under abject poverty, illiteracy, ill-health, unemployment, low quality of life and so on. Food insecurity causes poverty, vulnerability and livelihood insecurity, but is at the same time also a result of these conditions. It is widely accepted that poverty is currently the principal root cause of food insecurity at the level of households. It is also clear that in several societies, households are not homogenous entities, since within a household, women and girl children often tend to be relatively more undernourished. Gender constitutes the most profound differentiating division. A gendered analysis of poverty reveals not simply its unequal incidence but also that both cause and effect are deeply gendered. Women face a greater risk of poverty than men. The gender disparity is most visible among female- headed households, notably lone mothers and single pensioners. Food security at the level of each individual is hence important. Millennium Development Goals (MDG) recognizes that hunger and food insecurity are the core afflictions of poor people, and specifically sets out to halve the proportion of extremely poor and hungry people in the world. Amartya Sen. added a new dimension to food security and emphasized the “access” to food through what he called ‘entitlements' – a combination of what one can produce, exchange in the market along with state or other socially provided supplies. The 1995 World Food Summit declared, “Food security at the individual, household, regional, national and global levels exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. The declaration further recognizes that “poverty eradication is essential to improve access to food”. Food security, as internationally understood, involves physical, economic and social access to a balanced diet, safe drinking water, environmental hygiene and primary health care. Such a definition will involve concurrent attention to the availability of food in the market, the ability to buy needed food and the capability to absorb and utilize the food in the body. Thus, food and non-food factors that is, drinking water, environmental hygiene and primary health care are involved in food security.

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