May 19, 2011 – India’s cabinet has approved a proposal for a survey to identify people living below the poverty line, which also redefines what constitutes poverty.
It will classify the rural poor into “destitutes, manual scavengers and primitive tribal groups”.
Urban poor will be defined as those in vulnerable shelters, low-paid jobs and homes headed by women or children.
The survey, to be conducted alongside a caste census later this year, will help identify those who need state aid.
There are various estimates on the exact number of poor in India.
Officially, 37% of India’s 1.21bn people live below the poverty line. But one estimate suggests this figure could be as high as 77%.
The last poverty survey was conducted in 2002, but this is the first time that details about caste and religion will be included. The last caste census in India was in 1931.
Millions of people around the world live in informal urban communities where a lack of resources leads to degradation of the environment. Deteriorating environmental conditions, in turn, create more poverty. When participants from IDRC”s eight “Focus Cities” met to compare notes, they mapped out ways in which small practical gains could start to reverse that cycle — providing incomes for individuals and families while helping to create cleaner, healthier neighbourhoods.