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Below Poverty Line (BPL): Role of Gram Panchayat in reducing poverty in India

Tulika Tandon

Recently the Bilaspur Gram Panchayat has been in news as some of the people are mistakenly included in the Below Poverty Line list made by the authorities. The list is inclusive of the members earning more than 2500 per month as well. Know all about the Gram Panchayats and the role they can play in reducing the poverty line in India here. 

What is Gram Panchayat?

Gram Panchayats were established in various states of India, Rajasthan being the first among them. The Panchayati Raj system has three tiers:

  1. Zila Parishad, at the district level
  2. Nagar Palika, at the block level
  3. Gram Panchayat, at the village level

Gram Panchayats are the lowest level in the Panchayati Raj System which are legally authorised by the 73rd Amendment Act of the Indian Constitution in 1992. 

What is Poverty?

Poverty is the result of economic, social, gender and other deprivations that happen over the years to a set of people. The major cause of poverty is unemployment and lack of resources in a society.  

As per the Ministry of rural development 'Poverty can be defined as a condition in which an individual or household lacks the financial resources to afford a basic minimum standard of living.'

The conventional approach to measuring poverty used in the country includes specifying a minimum expenditure or income needed to purchase a basket of goods and services important to satisfy basic human needs. This expenditure to be made by an individual is called the poverty line. 

The basket of goods and services required to satisfy basic human needs is the Poverty Line Basket.

Poverty Measuring Agency in India: 

The erstwhile Planning Commission was the nodal agency for estimation of poverty in India. India has undertaken periodic assessments of the incidence of poverty since the 1960s, based on the methodology suggested by the Expert Groups/Committees set up by the Planning Commission from time to time.  Know what is Gram Panchayat's role in reducing Below Poverty Line population in India?

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What can be done to eliminate poverty? Role of Gram Panchayats-

India needs to fill the gaps on the following for elimination of poverty. These are:

Education: Children must not drop out of schools at all. Gram Panchayats must ensure that the children get their books and other requirements for their studies to continue. There must also be proper toilet installations in schools for that matter.

Health and Sanitation: Health issues can lead to loss of expenses for the complete family which is why the Gram Panchayats must work on ensuring proper health and sanitation in the villages. 

Housing and Social Protection: Social Protection helps people to stay stable in their lives. In a control mechanism, the people who are not socially stable are not able to remain above the poverty line due to lower employment chances. 

Employment: The Gram Panchayats and the Government must create labour banks, provide skills to the farmers and mechanize the ways used by them to create employment opportunities for them. 

Land Productivity improvement: Land is what is the asset of the farmers and people living in various Gram Panchayats. Proper land would ensure a proper produce of crops which in turn would come to proper food grains available. This way the farmers would be benefited and come above the poverty line.

Strategy to be followed by Gram Panchayat:

The Gram Panchayat must focus on the areas of priorities and set their goals after which they can develop an action plan and build a timeline for achieving the goals. 

The Panchayats can identify the resources to help in implementation of the action plan. The Gram Panchayats would also need to identify the people required for Human Resources that could support the implementation of this action plan.

 

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