Poverty Alleviation Programmes in India: A Social Audit.
The review highlights the poverty alleviation programmes of the government in the post-economic reform era to evaluate the contribution of these programmes towards reducing poverty in the country. The poverty alleviation programmes are classified into (i) self-employment programmes; (ii) wage employment programmes; (iii) food security programmes; (iv) social security programmes; and (v) urban poverty alleviation programmes. The parameter used for evaluation included utilization of allocated funds, change in poverty level, employment generation and number or proportion of beneficiaries. The paper attempts to go beyond the economic benefit of the programmes and analyzes the social impact of these programmes on the communities where the poor live, and concludes that too much of government involvement is actually an impediment. On the other hand, involvement of the community, especially the poor has led to better achievement of the goals of the programmes. Such endeavours not only reduced poverty but also empowered the poor to find their own solutions to their economic problems. There is a need for decentralization of the programmes by strengthening the panchayat raj institutions as poverty is not merely economic deprivation but also social marginalization that affects the poor most. Key words Poverty alleviation–public distribution system–self-employment–social marginalization–social security–wage employment