Eliminating poverty: creating jobs and strengthening social programs

A taskforce set up by Niti Aayog on eliminating poverty released its report dealing in detail on how key government initiatives can contribute to uplift of poor, but stopped short of determining the poverty line as practised traditionally. Instead of the traditional practice of determining the poverty line, the report talks of how key government initiatives than can contribute to elimination of poverty. It must be recognised that judgments on what represents a basic necessity of life would vary from person to person, and this is what makes the choice of a poverty line difficult. Therefore, the final decision on this question needs to be informed by further deliberations that pay adequate attention to the fact that the objective behind an official poverty line is to track progress in combating extreme poverty and not identification of the poor for purposes of distributing government benefits, the report ‘Eliminating Poverty: Creating Jobs and Strengthening Social Programs’, said. The strategy for combating poverty must rest on two legs sustained rapid growth that is also employment-intensive and making anti-poverty programmes effective, it said.Sustained rapid growth works through two channels by creating jobs that pay steadily rising real wages and it also leads to growth in government revenues which in turn allows the expansion of social expenditures at faster pace. Making anti-poverty programmes such as the Public Distribution System, Midday Meal Scheme, MGNREGA and Housing for All more effective, represents the second leg of the strategy to eliminate abject poverty, the report said.

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