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Poverty is a situation where the the individual or communities lack the resources, ability and environment to meet the basic need of life. Poverty can be defined as a social phenomenon in which a section of population is unable to meet even its basic neccessities of life. Though this minimum neccessity depends on level of development in country. It depends on average level of living in a society. In india, the generally accepted definition of poverty emphasis minimum level of living rather than a reawonable level of living.
Absolute poverty is destitution wherein one lacks basic human needs including clean water, food , clothing and shelter, health and education.

Extreme poverty is called penury.

Relative poverty refers to lacking a usual or socially acceptable level of resource or income as compared with others in society.

“In human society too much wealth and too much poverty is a great impediment to the higher development of the soul. It is from the middle classes that the greate ones of the world come. Here the forces are very equally adjusted and balamced.”- Swami Vivekanand.

Poverty and unemployment are considered as the biggest challenge to deveolpment planning in India.
Multidimension poverty Index:

MPI indicates the share of population that is multidimensionally poor adjusted by the intensity of deprivation in terms of living standard, health and education. HDR 2010 now measures poverty in MPI. India has MPI of 0.296 and poverty ratio 41% considering PPP $1.25 a day. About 1.4 bn people in world are estimated to live in absolute poverty today.

Estimation of poverty at national and state level is carried out by planning commission where as BPL census to identify households below PL in rural areas is conducted by Ministry of rural develpment. Tendulkar committee and NC Saxena committee has given methodology of estimation of poverty and BPL census in rur areas and SR Hasim committtee isnset up to recommend methodolgy of identifying BPL in urban areas. Presently planning commission uses methodolgy recommended by Tendulkar committee. As per this method, estimated population below poverty line was 37.5 % in 2004- 05 considering poverty line at Rs 446 per month in rural and Rs 578 per month in urban areas at 2004-05 price levels. In 2011-12, according to tendulkar methodology, poverty line is at Rs 33.3 in urban and Rs 27.2 in urban areas in a day.

Recent estimates of planning commision based on nsso 68th round of survey on household consumer expenditure shows that population below poverty line is 21.9% in 2011-12 that is annual drop of 2.2%. If this trend is sustained, it would be an end to official poverty in India.

As per 2009-10 data nsso 66th round household consumption survey, planning commission estimated poverty at 29.8%. Now despite slacking growth rate in last 2 years, as per planning commission, poverty reduced by 8 percentage point in last 2 years. Though for all practical purposes, actual figure of poverty could be as high as 65%. Even government is not considering this data for identifying poors for its food security initiative. PC must rethink its formal methodology.