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Inside Story
Redefining poverty
Is India's government trying to tackle poverty itself or is it just trying to fix the country's image?
Last Modified: 22 May 2011 11:09

The Indian government has said that it will redefine the official classification of poverty, one day after a World Bank report said corruption has failed the country's anti-poverty programmes.

The report said India spends more than two per cent of its gross domestic product on poverty alleviation but the programmes are beset by corruption, poor administration and under-payments.

For India to control poverty the UN report recommended a strategy that involved sponsored programmes to enhance rural livelihood, to improve casual workers' access to healthcare and to provide subsidised food grains for the poor.

India is the world's second-fastest growing economy after China. Some estimates suggest that as many as 77 per cent of its 1.2 billion people live below the poverty line.

A UN study released last year found more people living below the poverty threshold in eight states in India than in all of sub-Saharan Africa.

The Indian cabinet now wants to identify people living below the poverty line and to detail what constitutes poverty. Data on those living below the poverty line will include details on caste and religion for the first time since 1931.

Who is poor? How will the cabinet reclassify poverty? What will the process take into account?

Inside Story, with presenter Adrian Finighan, discusses with Venkatesh Nayak, the programme coordinator at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in New Delhi; Nayanika Mathur, an anthropology lecturer at the University of Cambridge; and Subir Sinha, a senior lecturer at the Centre of South Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Friday, May 20, 2011.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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