India is one of the fastest growing economies. Despite this, poverty and hunger in India are very high. About 20-35% of children suffer from severe undernutrition in the majority of Indian states. According to India’s 2011 government data, 65 million people live in areas that lack basic facilities, which puts them under the risk of various diseases alongside hunger, which is often life-threatening.
In recently published the Global Hunger Index (GHI), India has slid down, falling behind its South Asian neighbors to rank 101 out of 116 countries. The government has dismissed the report’s ‘unscientific’ methodology.
Issues relating to poverty and hunger
Poverty and hunger have been a universal and increasing menace to humankind. Let us learn about these issues in detail.
Issues relating to Hunger
- Hunger is the condition where both adults and children cannot access food constantly and have to decrease food intake, eat poor diets, and often go without any food. (Dillon and Marquand, 2011).
- According to Amartya Sen, the real cause for hunger is the lack of ability to pay for food.
Root causes of hunger
Hunger at global scale is one of the main problems that large number of the global population faces presently. Hunger varies with severity. World hunger has many annoying factors and major causes, such as insufficient economic systems, misinformation, and climate changes. But the main unbearable factor is poverty as poverty always has led to people going without regular meals because they cannot afford to eat. There are majority of people in developing countries such as Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia that are in desperate need of food. It has been observed that with the growth of population, the number of hungry people also increases at an uneven rate.
Among numerous issues, Hunger and malnutrition are closely associated in Indian scenario.
- The Global Study revealed that 42% children in India are underweight and 58% of children are stunted by two years of age.
- Malnutrition occurs when a person’s body receives little or no nutrients. People who are malnourished get sick more often and as a result in many cases die.
- Malnutrition is consequently the most important risk factor for the problem of disease in developing countries.
- It is the direct cause of about 300,000 deaths per year and is indirectly responsible for about half of all deaths in young children.
- It can be said that world hunger must be taken seriously and should be approached with all deliberate and instant policies.
- There are different issues of world hunger but the three main ones are poverty, climate changes, and also feeble economies.
- In India, 21.9% of the population lives below the national poverty line in 2011.
- In India, the proportion of the employed population below $1.90 purchasing power parity a day in 2011 is 21.2%.
- For every 1,000 babies born in India in 2017, 39 die before their 5th birthday.
- Poverty is a condition characterized by lack of basic needs such as water, health care, foods, sufficient access to social and economic services, and few opportunities for formal income generation.
- Poverty is often described in terms of the income level below which people are unable to access sufficient food for a healthy working life.
- Hunger and food insecurity are the most serious forms of extreme poverty.
- Progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia and especially East Asia. In other areas, the number of people in extreme poverty has increased especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Poverty in India is primarily due to improper government policies and the misuse of the financially weaker section by the wealthier community.
- The main outcome of poverty is hunger. Hunger’s seriousness can be understood easily from the fact that every year, 5.8 million children die from hunger related-causes around the world (FAO Hunger Report 2008).
- Poverty involves more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and elimination as well as the lack of participation in decision-making
Key facts about hunger in India
- India is home to the largest undernourished population in the world
- 189.2 million people i.e. 14% of our population is undernourished
- 20% of children under 5 are underweight
- 34.7% of children under 5 years of age are stunted
- 51.4% women in the reproductive age (15-49) are anemic.
Reports of the World Bank revealed that India is one of the poorest countries in the world. Some of the main issues associated with prevalent poverty in India are poor health services, and insufficient education and training. Almost half of India’s population drops out of school by the age of thirteen and only one in ten people receive some form of job training.
- Poor health services: It has been observed that People of India have less access to good health services as compared to industrialized nations. The relationship between poverty and access to health care can be seen as part of a larger cycle, where poverty leads to ill health and ill health maintains poverty.
- Child malnutrition: The occurrence of under-nutrition in India is amongst the highest levels found in any country in the world and in spite of the development in food production, disease control and economic and social development; India is facing an acute problem of child malnutrition.
- Insufficient education and training: In developing countries, children do not have access to basic education because of inequalities that originate in sex, health and cultural identity. It has been revealed in reports that illiteracy and lack of education are common factor that lead to poverty.
- Governments of developing countries often cannot have enough money to provide for good public schools, especially in rural areas.
- Poor people also often sacrifice schooling in order to concentrate on making a minimal living.
- Additionally, developing countries tend to have few employment opportunities, especially for women. As a result, people do not want to attend school.
- Corruption and warfare: Political power is unreasonably centralized. This often causes development problems. In these situations politicians make decisions about places that they are unaware with, lacking sufficient knowledge about the context to design effective and appropriate policies and programs.
- Another issue related with poverty is corruption often accompanies centralization of power, when leaders are not accountable to those they serve. Corruption hinders development.
- Warfare also lead to entrenched poverty by diverting scarce resources allocated for reducing poverty to maintaining a military.
- Environmental degradation: It is also a major issue in increasing poverty.
- In the developing world, the poor communities depend on natural resources to fulfill their basic needs.
- Therefore, the depletion and impurity of water sources directly impend the livelihoods of those who depend on them.
- Inequality: One of the more deep-rooted sources of poverty around the globe is social inequality that stems from cultural ideas about the relative worth of different genders, races, ethnic groups, and social classes.
- Other causes include:
- Population Rise
- Low Productivity in Agriculture
- Under-Utilized Resources
- Low Rate of Economic Development
- Price Rise
- Shortage of Capital and Able Entrepreneurship
- Social Factors
India’s (poor) performance
- India is among the 31 countries where hunger has been identified as serious.
- Only 15 countries fare worse than India.
- Some of these include Afghanistan (103), Nigeria (103), Congo (105), Mozambique (106), Sierra Leone (106), Timor-Leste (108), Haiti (109), Liberia (110), Madagascar (111) and Somalia (116).
- India was also behind most of the neighbouring countries.
- Pakistan was placed at 92 rank, Nepal at 76 and Bangladesh also at 76.
Issues relating to Poverty
Poverty is a state or condition in which a person lacks the resources for a minimum standard of living.
- Prior to the 1990s when India was a closed economy, the public distribution system provided necessary resources to all the citizens. However, due to the financial constraints and policy changes after the commencement of Globalisation in India, the government provided necessary resources to the target population i.e., those who deserve governmental assistance.
- This lead to the Government’s adoption of the Targeted Public Distribution System. That is, the Government provided subsidised food to those who come under Below Poverty Line.
- It is difficult to give the exact definition of poverty as it has numerous causes and characteristics. It differs from nation-nation, urban-rural, etc. in other words, the definitions of poverty are based on perspectives.
- However, the general idea is that when an individual has lesser accessibility and affordability to certain essentials like food, clothes, a place to live, healthcare, education, etc., then he is said to be living in poverty.
- According to The UN Fundamentally, poverty is a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity
- In 1990, the World Bank introduced the concept of ‘poverty line’ to capture absolute poverty. Then, it was set at $1 per day.
- As per the revised measures (2017), the World Bank defines extreme poverty as someone living on less than US$1.90 per day. This figure is known as the
- Dr Amartya Sen provided a useful alternative to understand poverty.
- His capability approach to understanding poverty goes beyond income and stresses the whole range of means, available to achieve human capabilities such as literacy, longevity and access to income.
- Therefore the poverty estimation differs during varying perceptions.
How was poverty estimated in India?
Estimation of poverty in British India:
- In India, the first-ever Poverty estimation was done by Dadabhai Naoroji in 1901 which was published in his book “Poverty and Un-British Rule in India”
- The National Planning Committee of 1936 has estimated poverty in India during the Colonial rule. It calculated poverty linking nutrition, clothing, and housing. This method was used in Independent India also. The poverty estimation by the National Planning Committee showed a grim picture of British India’s Economy
Estimation of poverty in Independent India:
- A working group was set up in 1962 to estimate the poverty line of the country.
- This estimation was based on the minimum calories required to survive and the cost estimates of the minimum calories in Rural India. According to this, the average poverty line is Rs.20 per month. Based on 1960-61 prices.
- Alagh Committee: Until 1979, poverty was calculated based on the income of the citizens. In 1979, based on the recommendation by a committee headed by Y K Alagh, poverty was estimated based on the calories consumed by the population. According to the committee, poverty estimation differs in rural and urban areas. In the rural area, if a resident consumes less than 2400 calories per day, then he/ she belongs BPL population. In an urban area, if a resident consumes less than 2100 calories per day then he/she suffers from poverty. This is an assumption that the urban population needs lesser calories as they are not involved in physical works like that of the rural population. The Alagh committee was the first in India to define the poverty line.
- Lakdawala Formula: This was proposed by Lakdawala Committee that was headed by D.T.Lakdawala. This is also based on household per capita expenditure. Lakdawala committee used the same method used by the Alagh committee. However, it included certain criteria that were missing in the latter. Health and education were considered during the estimation. This committee used CPI-IL (Consumer price index for Industrial Labourers) and CPI-AL (Consumer price index for Agricultural labourers to determine the poverty line. In this method, the average of the minimum necessary per capita household expenditure is calculated to estimate the poor. The obtained value is the base for the poverty line and anyone who lives in a household with per capita expenditure lesser than the obtained average belongs to the BPL. Through this method, it was estimated that 36% of the population were BPL in 2004-2005 and 22% of the population under BPL in 2011. Poverty in India was estimated using this method until 2011.
- Suresh Tendulkar Committee: This committee was set up by the Planning commission in 2005. The methods recommended by this committee are used in the current times. It urged the shift from a calorie-based model and inclusion of monthly expenditure on education, health, electricity, and transport. It introduced the new term “Poverty Line Basket” to determine and estimate poverty. It called for the uniformity of the poverty line basket for both urban and rural areas. If a person does not have access to any of the goods mentioned under the poverty basket then he/she is suffering from poverty. This method uses the cost of living as the basis for identifying poverty. However, the resulted estimation was very low and resulting in public outcry. This lead to the formation of the Rangarajan Committee.
- Rangarajan Committee: Formed in the year 2012, this committee was chaired by Rangarajan. This too adopted calorie-based calculation of the poverty level. This had limitations as it calculated only the absolute minimum necessities. This did not include comfortable living standards as a necessity.
- Current status of poverty line estimation: The above cases show the complexity and difficulty in the determination of the poverty line. Currently, the Indian government still hasn’t found a solid solution to estimate the poverty level of the country. The task was given a 14 member task force headed by NITI Aayog vice-chairman, Aravind Panagaria. They too have failed and have recommended setting up of a new specialised panel to debate the issue.
The conventional approach to measuring poverty is to specify a minimum expenditure (or income) required to purchase a basket of goods and services necessary to satisfy basic human needs. This minimum expenditure is called the poverty line.
The basket of goods and services necessary to satisfy basic human needs is the Poverty Line Basket (PLB).
The proportion of the population below the poverty line is called the poverty ratio or headcount ratio (HCR).
Most countries and international institutions (World Bank, United Nations etc) follow a similar approach for counting the poor.
What are the causes of poverty (Indian perspective)?
- Colonial exploitation: India under the colonial hegemony was forced to de-industrialize resulting in increased raw material production and a decrease in the export of value-added goods like traditional handicrafts and textiles. The natives were forced to buy British goods, thus discouraging them from manufacturing indigenously. This led to massive unemployment. The droughts, diseases, and others increased the plight of the Indians during that time.
- Caste Based Rural Economy: The traditional village economy revolved around a hereditary caste hierarchy that prescribed individuals´ occupations. Upper castes were the landowners, middle-ranked (backward) castes the farmers and artisans, and the lowest-ranked (scheduled) castes the laborers who performed menial tasks. Though after globalization rural economy extending towards semi-urban economy yet right to choose occupation is still massive hurdle for rural population. (Ideas for India)
- Increase in the population: the rapid increase in the population due to a decrease in the mortality rate and an increase in the birth rate can be an asset for the Indian economy. However, in the present scenario, this is turning out to be a liability due to massive unemployment and an increase in the dependence on those working populations. The massive population must be converted to human capital to promote the growth of the economy.
- Natural Calamities: In India, the maximum of the population who belong to BPL is from states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. The reason behind this is that these states are prone to natural disasters and also most of the population in these states are from SC/STs thus making them unrepresented. The natural calamities in these states hamper the agricultural progress and economic development of these states.
- The rise of unorganised sectors: many sectors in the Indian economy are unorganised. This brings in the problem of labour exploitation. The increase in demand for work also causes job insecurities.
- Failing Agricultural sector: the agricultural sector is one of the most vulnerable sectors of the Indian economy. Farmer suicides and protests are on the rise due to the increasing debt and decrease in production. This, in the long run, would result in them suffering from poverty. This sector employs a maximum of the Indian population but provides little profit.
- Lack of investment: The investment provides more job opportunities. For this, the Indian economy must be favourable for foreign investment. However, some parts of India remain unfavourable due to corruption, political instability, militancy etc.
- Social factors: Illiteracy, unrepresented minorities, social norms, caste systems are still prevalent in certain parts of India.
- Lack of skilled labour: the population can be an asset to the economy if it is utilized efficiently. This can be done through human capitalization. Measures to improve the literacy of the population are very slow. Some, due to the lack of sufficient skills are not accepted in the workforce. This results in unemployment and poverty.
- Corruption: Many measures have been taken by the government to eliminate poverty. However, there is still a lack of political will. The corruption by those in power also contributes to poverty.
- Inefficient use of resources: India is a country that has abundant natural resources which, if utilized efficiently, without wastage, can be turned into an asset.
- Lack of entrepreneurship: There are many activities in India that can be of asset to the economy. For example, some tribes have rich art and culture which can be utilized for the tribes’ growth and development through proper entrepreneurship. However, due to a lack of leadership and entrepreneurial skills, they go to waste. The tribes remain one of the most vulnerable sections of Indian society.
- Lack of infrastructure: Many parts of India still remain isolated despite the rapid economic growth. There are several villages in India that still don’t have access to basic commodities like electricity, thus resulting in poor standards of living. They don’t even have proper roads or railways. Their contribution to the economy goes to waste due to inaccessibility.
- Recession induced by coronavirus pandemic.
What is the current status?
- The 2019 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index published by the UN Development Program has estimated that multidimensional poverty in India has fallen by 27.5% between 2005-06 and 2015-16. Multidimensional poverty means the estimation of poor not only based on income but also several factors such as poor health, poor working conditions, etc.
- According to World Poverty Clock, close to 44 Indians are escaping from extreme poverty each minute.
- As of 2011, 21.9% of the Indian population belongs below the poverty line.
- The unemployment rate as of April 2021 is 7.1%. This is a huge problem as unemployment is the direct cause of poverty in the country. The recent years saw a rapid increase in infrastructural developments like roads and housing projects for the alleviation of the poor. This might help boost investments in the country increasing job opportunities.
The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)
The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of multidimensional poverty covering 107 developing countries.
Global MPI was first developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for UNDP’s Human Development Reports.
The Global MPI is released at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development of the United Nations in July, every year.
Global MPI 2020
The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) compares acute multidimensional poverty for 107 countries in developing regions. These countries are home to 5.9 billion people, three-quarters of the world’s population.
Of these people, 1.3 billion people (22%) are identified by the global MPI as multidimensionally poor as per the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2020.
3 Dimensions and 10 Indicators in MPI
The MPI assesses poverty at the individual level.
If a person is deprived in a third or more of ten (weighted) indicators, the global MPI identifies them as ‘MPI poor’.
The extent – or intensity – of their poverty is also measured through the percentage of deprivations they are experiencing.
Other parameters include:
- poor quality of work
- social exclusion
- rural-urban disparity
- the threat of violence,
- living in areas that are environmentally hazardous
The need for understanding multiple connotations
- Monetary-based poverty measures are inadequate: In most cases, not all individuals who are income poor are multidimensionally poor and not all multidimensionally poor individuals are income poor.
- Economic growth does not always reduce poverty or deprivation. Several studies have found that economic growth is not strongly associated with a reduction in other deprivations, such as child malnutrition or child mortality.
- Poverty as multidimensional: Poor people describe ill-being to include poor health, nutrition, lack of adequate sanitation and clean water, social exclusion, low education, bad housing conditions, violence, shame, disempowerment and much more.
- Need for more policy-relevant information on poverty, so that policymakers are better equipped to deal with it: For example, an area in which most people are deprived in education requires a different poverty reduction strategy from an area in which most people are deprived in housing conditions.
Reasons for poor performance in Global Index
- Poor maternal health: Mothers are too young, too short, too thin and too undernourished themselves, before they get pregnant, during pregnancy, and then after giving birth, during breast-feeding.
- Poor sanitation: Poor sanitation, leading to diarrhoea, is another major cause of child wasting and stunting.
- Food insecurity: Low dietary diversity in India is also a key factor in child malnutrition.
- Poverty: Almost 50 million households in India are dependent on these small and marginal holdings.
- Livelihood loss: The rural livelihoods loss after COVID and lack of income opportunities other than the farm sector have contributed heavily to the growing joblessness in rural areas.
Issues with GHI
- The GHI is largely children-oriented with a higher emphasis on undernutrition than on hunger and its hidden forms, including micronutrient deficiencies.
- The first component — calorie insufficiency — is problematic for many reasons.
- The lower calorie intake, which does not necessarily mean deficiency, may also stem from reduced physical activity, better social infrastructure (road, transport and healthcare) and access to energy-saving appliances at home, among others.
- For a vast and diverse country like India, using a uniform calorie norm to arrive at deficiency prevalence means failing to recognise the huge regional imbalances in factors that may lead to differentiated calorie requirements at the State level.
- Understanding the connection between stunting and wasting and ways to tackle them
- India’s wasting prevalence (17.3%) is one among the highest in the world.
- Its performance in stunting, when compared to wasting, is not that dismal, though.
- Child stunting in India declined from 54.2% in 1998–2002 to 34.7% in 2016-2020, whereas child wasting remains around 17% throughout the two decades of the 21st century.
- Stunting is a chronic, long-term measure of undernutrition, while wasting is an acute, short-term measure.
- Quite possibly, several episodes of wasting without much time to recoup can translate into stunting.
- Effectively countering episodes of wasting resulting from such sporadic adversities is key to making sustained and quick progress in child nutrition.
- Way forward: If India can tackle wasting by effectively monitoring regions that are more vulnerable to socioeconomic and environmental crises, it can possibly improve wasting and stunting simultaneously.
- Low child mortality
- India’s relatively better performance in the other component of GHI — child mortality — merits a mention.
- Studies suggest that child under nutrition and mortality are usually closely related, as child under nutrition plays an important facilitating role in child mortality.
- However, India appears to be an exception in this regard.
- This implies that though India was not able to ensure better nutritional security for all children under five years, it was able to save many lives due to the availability of and access to better health facilities.
Initiatives by Government to Curb Poverty in India
Ending poverty in all its forms is the first of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The government of India took several initiatives to eradicate poverty from the country.
- Saansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) – Ministry of Rural development initiated the scheme in 2014. The scheme aims to develop five ‘Adarsh Villages’ or ‘Model Villages’ by 2024.
- National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) – Ministry of Rural Development started NRLM 2011 to evolve out the need to diversify the needs of the rural poor and provide them jobs with regular income on a monthly basis.
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) – In 2005 Ministry of Rural Development initiated MGNEREGA to provide 100 days of assured employment every year to every rural household. One-third of the proposed jobs would be reserved for women.
- National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) – In 2013, NULM was commenced by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs focusing on organizing urban poor in Self Help Groups, creating opportunities for skill development leading to market-based employment, and helping them to set up self-employment ventures by ensuring easy access to credit.
- Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) – the Ministry of Finance in 2014 initiated PMJDY that aimed at direct benefit transfer of subsidy, pension, insurance, etc., and attained the target of opening 1.5 crore bank accounts. The scheme particularly targets the unbanked poor.
Initiatives by Government to fight against Hunger in India
The Government of India took several initiatives to fight against hunger across the nation.
- National Nutrition Mission (NNM), Poshan Abhiyan – NNM was started in 2018 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to reduce the level of under-nutrition and also enhance the nutritional status of children in the country.
- National Food Security Mission – Ministry of Agriculture initiated NFSM in 2007 to increase the production of rice, wheat, pulses, and coarse cereals through area expansion and productivity enhancement in a sustainable manner.
- Zero Hunger Programme – launched on October 16, 2017 with the aim to make farm inventions, organizing the farming system for nutrition, setting up genetic gardens for biofortified plants and initiating zero hunger training.
- Eat Right India Movement: An outreach activity organized by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for citizens to nudge them towards eating right.
- Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana: A centrally sponsored scheme executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.
- Food Fortification: Food Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.
- National Food Security Act, 2013: It legally entitled up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
- Mission Indradhanush: It targets children under 2 years of age and pregnant women for immunization against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD).
Global Initiative against Poverty and Hunger
Food is at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 2 of SDG deals with Zero Hunger. Given below are some global level initiatives to fight poverty and hunger-
- The End to Poverty Initiative – This Centenary Initiative is designed specifically as the vehicle to take forward the ILO’s work in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to alleviate poverty.
- Zero Hunger By World Food Programme – with humanitarian food assistance, provide nutritious food to those in urgent need. Meanwhile, the complementary programs address the root causes of hunger and build the resilience of communities.
- Fight Hunger First – With a vision to have a world without hunger and poverty, Welthungerhilfe- WHH has been implementing several initiatives in rural areas of India and Bangladesh. It was set up by a UN agency FAO.
- Zero Hunger Challenge (Save Food) by FAO – The 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, launched the Zero Hunger Challenge which includes addressing the sustainability of all food systems and the vision of zero food loss and waste (FLW).
- The government must provide transparency and accountability to various organizations that are responsible for the implementation of the Welfare Schemes.
- Infrastructure development and skills development must be made a top priority.
- More govt expenditure in health, nutrition, and education.
- The problem of the inability to determine the poverty line must be resolved to help the target population.
- Direct income transfer to the needy is an immediate solution. Universal Basic Income should also be considered.
- Investment in Agriculture by the government is necessary to decrease rural poverty. Subsidies address only short-term issues. Also, there is a need to develop technologies, with the help of which farmers can practice all-weather agriculture.
- Employment-oriented growth: create jobs in modern sectors and promote labour-intensive industries.
- Reduce corruption for efficient service delivery.
- Resilience for poor households to withstand major shocks: through holistic, multi-faceted intervention designed to help people lift themselves from extreme poverty by providing them with the tools, skills, and resources required to deal with the challenges that keep them trapped in a state of destitution. In addition to providing assets such as livestock, the government should also provide livelihood and financial skills training to make these assets productive; personal coaching to instill confidence and hope; basic health care for families, and more.
Previous Year Questions Asked In Mains From This Topic
- Can the vicious cycle of gender inequality, poverty and malnutrition be broken through microfinancing of women SHGs? Explain with examples. 
- “The incidence and intensity of poverty are more important in determining poverty based on income alone”. In this context analyze the latest United Nations Multidimensional Poverty Index Report. 
- There is a growing divergence in the relationship between poverty and hunger in India. The shrinking of social expenditure by the government is forcing the poor to spend more on non-food essential items squeezing their food-budget. — Elucidate. 
- How far do you agree with the view that the focus on lack of availability of food as the main cause of hunger takes the attention away from ineffective human development policies in India? 
- Hunger and poverty are the biggest challenges for good governance in India still today. Evaluate how far successive governments have progressed in dealing with these humongous problems. Suggest measures for improvement. 
- “Poverty alleviation programmes in India remain mere showpieces until and unless they are backed up by political will.” Discuss with reference to the performance of the major poverty alleviation programmes in India. 
- The Self-Help Group (SHG) Bank Linkage Programme (SBLP), which is India’s own innovation, has proved to be one of the most effective poverty alleviation and women empowerment programmes. Elucidate. 
- Though there have been several different estimates of poverty in India, all indicate reduction in poverty levels over time. Do you agree? Critically examine with reference to urban and rural poverty indicators. 
- The basis of providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in establishing connectivity. Comment.