(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 14, 2010
of Poverty in
M K Pandhe
THE elimination of poverty is an essential requirement of a socialist system. Poverty is an essential concomitant of a capitalist system. So long as the capitalist society exists in a country, poverty will never be abolished. The slogan of ‘Garibi Hatao’ given in a capitalist system is only an election gimmick. Child labour as a product of poverty will continue to exist so long as poverty exists in a society.
in the richest capitalist country, the
Even the millennium goal of reduction of poverty by 50 per cent by 2012 is not going to be achieved all over the world.
The world hunger report 2009 clearly points out that a large number of human population in the world continue to remain hungry while growing prices of food products will make the task of providing food for all, more difficult.
The United Nations’ international agencies are paying lip sympathy to the task of elimination of poverty. They claim that the present high rate of hunger is unacceptable to them but they in practice accept it and no concrete steps are being taken to provide food for all.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that every human shall have the right to enjoy the living standard required to maintain health and welfare of himself and his family members including food, clothing, housing, medical service and necessary social services. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, expressly specifies that every human shall be entitled to obtain a certain living standard for himself and family including sufficient foods, clothing and housing and keep improving the living conditions.
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the world conference on Human Rights in 1993 specifies that all the human rights are Universal, inseparable, interdependent and interrelated.
The 47th United Nations General Assembly decided on December 22, 1992 to make every October 17, the international day for the eradication of poverty. As noted earlier, at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, the leaders of various countries in the world identified the clearly defined objectives and indicators known as the millennium development goals, with regard to the issues of the eradication of poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy. The goals specify that the proportion of the population living on less than one dollar everyday will be cut down by half by 2015 and the proportion of population threatened with hunger will also be reduced by half. Specifically speaking, the population living on less than one dollar will be slashed from 1.25 billion in 1970 to below 625 million in 2015.
According to the World Bank, a person having an income of less than two dollars per day can be considered as poor while a person having an income of less than one dollar per day is considered to be suffering from acute poverty!
In spite of global lip sympathy towards the starving population in the world, the stark poverty levels continue to dog the world. The recent global economic crisis has only aggravated the situation with large number of unemployed people trying their best to some how or the other keep themselves alive. The bailout packages of various capitalist countries have only brought additional miseries for the common people. The exploitation of the working class and the people all over the world had only added to the poverty conditions of the vast masses of the society. Naturally, the global documents and declarations however much they express noble intentions, but in reality poverty at the global level only gets aggravated with rise in assets of the big business houses and their speculative gains in the share market, adding to the continuously growing inequality and gulf between rich and the poor all over the world.
to the 2008 World Bank report, the
people living in acute poverty conditions have declined from 1.8
1990 to 1.4 in 2005. However, much of
the reduction was due to reduced poverty conditions in
definition of poverty in developing and developed
countries is not uniform. According to the
poverty line determined by
the American government the proportion of the impoverished population
The official data reported by the World Bank has clearly shown the bankruptcy of the capitalist system in its utter failure to eliminate poverty from the globe.
the six decades of establishment of socialism,
was some progress in the direction of
reduction in poverty prior to the cultural revolution and remarkable
improvement in the standard of living of the people had taken place.
during the cultural revolution period, there were some problems. By the
1978, there were 250 million people in
Since 1978, the Chinese government adopted a policy of economic reforms which paid special attention to faster economic development and eradication of poverty. According to a statement by the state council of China in 2008, “In the past 50 years since the founding of New China especially since the initiation of reform and opening up to the outside world, the Chinese government has always put the people’s right to subsistence and development first, focused on economic construction and made efforts to develop social productivity. Consequently, China’s economy and society have advanced by leaps and bounds, its comprehensive national strength has been raised and the people’s livelihood has improved by a huge margin thereby realising two historic leaps bringing the people from poverty to having enough to eat and wear and then to living a better life”.
During 1980 and 2010 the per capita real standard of living of the entire population increased eight times bringing a large section of the poverty stricken people towards a decent living standard. In the year 1980, more than four billion Yuan were allotted to poverty eradication programmes . Thus from 1978 to 1986, the people below the poverty line came down from 250 million to 120 million.
In 1986 during the seventh five year plan poverty alleviation was given a top priority. People were given tax concession and other facilities. From 1986 to 1993 the impoverished people nationwide were reduced from 120 million to 80 million. Poverty was thus reduced by 6.4 million per year.
efforts to improve the standard of
living of people and quality of life had a very important role to play
poverty eradication programme. More job
creation was a crucial measure taken up by the government.
In three decades since 1978, 37 crore jobs
were created by the government of
of the different problems
A section of the ethnic minorities oppose economic reform, which is also an obstacle in this task. In Tibet, every step taken by the government to reduce poverty is considered as a step towards destroying Tibetan culture by Dalai Lama whose thinking practically means continuation of poverty and backwardness is preserving age-long Tibetan culture.
In Xinjiang, with 16 lakh 59 meters area in 1978, there were 53.2 lakh people living without enough food and clothing. However, due to huge spending by the Chinese government, by 2000 the problem of basic subsistence was solved satisfactorily. Social security benefits were also provided to the vast masses of the people.
Since 1994, the Chinese government increased investment in poverty alleviation programmes, three times in comparison with the investments made between 1986 to 1993. As a result of this the absolute poverty declined by an average of over 60 lakh per year. During 2000-2003, the poverty was reduced by over 30 lakhs.
The global economic recession however slowed down the poverty alleviation programme. However, at the end of 2008 the impoverished population in rural areas was reduced to four crore! As the number of impoverished people is declining the task is becoming more and more difficult, since it is concentrated in remote areas where developmental needs are more and more complex. Yet efforts are being made by the Chinese government to provide funds for poverty alleviation programmes.
The Chinese twelfth five year plan which is under consideration of the government is likely to emphasise faster economic growth of less developed regions and give special emphasis on eradication of the vestiges of poverty prevailing in the country. The plan (2010-2015) will further reduce the extent of poverty in the country and will pave the way for accelerating the economic growth of the country.