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War Against Poverty

1. Eradicating poverty in all its forms is one of the greatest challenges faced by humankind.

2. The UN defines extreme poverty as a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs which include food, safe drinking water, sanitation, and health.

What does the UN report say?

1. According to the United Nations (UN), more than 10% of the world’s population is still living in extreme poverty.

2. 23.1% of the population across 103 countries are multi-dimensionally poor and half of them are children under the age of 18 years.

3. Children suffer poverty more intensely than adults. It hurts children’s development and in turn, leads to lower-income and poor health in adulthood.

4. Half of the 1.3 billion multi-dimensionally poor people are children under the age of 18.

5. In 2018-19 about 10.7% of South Asian girls drop out of school and live in Multi-Dimensionally poor household and 22.7% of children under the age 5 are malnourished.

Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) includes both income and a number of indicators including poor health, poor quality of work and the threat of violence.

Who developed the MPI?

1. MPI is developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and UNDP.

2. It identifies deprivations at household and individual levels based on Health, Education, and Standard of Living.

3. It relies on two main databases viz. ICF Macro Demographic and Health Survey and UNICEF’s Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey.

Which are steps taken by the UN in reducing poverty?

1. Every year 17th October is observed as International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

2. No poverty by 2030 is the first sustainable development goal set by the UN.

3. UN is also running a social media campaign called #EndPoverty to create awareness on International Day for the eradication of poverty.

4. This year marks 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the theme this year is “Acting together to empower children their families and communities to end poverty”.

5. The Convention recognizes the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.

Where does India stand?

1. As per the 2019 Global Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index, India reduced half the number of poor between 2006 and 2016.

2. India lifted 271 million people out of poverty in the period recording the fastest reduction in the multi-dimensional poverty index values during the period.

3. Strong improvements in assets, cooking fuel, sanitation, and nutrition are cited as the reason.

4. India’s MPI value reduced from 0.283 in 2005-06 to 0.123 in 2015-16.

5. India has also reduced the number of overweight children under 5 years.

6. But, India still has about 27.9% of the population living in poverty in 2015-16.

7. 38.4% of Children under 5 years are affected by stunting and it varies among the poor, middle class and rich.

8. According to the National Family Health Survey, a third of women of reproductive age undernourished and more than half of them are anemic.

How India is trying to reduce poverty?

1. Schemes such as MGNREGA, Deen Dayal Anthodaya Yojana, National Livelihood Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, National Social Assistance Programme, and the Public Distribution System India has made far-reaching progress in poverty elevation in recent years.

2. To free India from malnutrition the National Nutrition Mission or the Potion Abhiyan is implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

3. The program aims to reduce stunting, undernutrition and anemia among young children, women and adolescent girls and also reduce low birth weight by monitoring and ensuring holistic development.

4. The goal is to make malnutrition free India by the year 2022.

Why is Health Care important in reducing poverty? 

1. About 55 million Indians were pushed into poverty in a single year for having to fund their own health care. Among them, 38 million came below poverty due to spending on medicines alone.

2. Other challenges in health care are High out of pocket expenditure and Low Financial protection and low health insurance coverage.

3. But, in recent years India has taken historic steps to ensure universal health which is an important parameter in eradicating poverty.

4. The focus is largely on four main pillars of universal health i.e. preventive health, affordable health care, supply-side interventions, and mission mode interventions.

5. Due to improvement across the spectrum of health and development, the average life expectancy has risen steadily from 64 to 68 years between 2005 and 2015.

6. India’s under-five mortality for the first time estimated at 39 deaths per 1000 live births which the same as the global average.

7. Health Care is also one of the largest sectors in India in terms of revenue and employment.

Ayushman Bharat Scheme

1. It is the world’s biggest government-sponsored healthcare scheme to reduce the out of pocket health care expenditures. It has been renamed as PM Jan Arogya Yojana.

2. It aims to provide healthcare facilities to over 10 crore families covering urban and rural poor.

4. The scheme has defined benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. The scheme has no cap on family size and age.

5. It is also cashless and paperless at public hospitals and empanelled private hospitals.

Other Initiatives

1. Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality rates.

2. Mother’s Absolute Affection, a nationwide program to bring focus on the promotion of breastfeeding and the provision of counseling services for the same.

3. Introduction of a new vaccines - rotavirus vaccine, Japanese encephalitis vaccine, Mission Indradhanush.

4. Family Planning.

5. National Deworming Day held by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

6. PM – National Dialysis Programme.

7. National Programme for Control of Blindness.

8. National Programme for Health care of the Elderly.

Source: RSTV