What is poverty?
In pure economic terms, income poverty is when a family’s income fails to meet a threshold established by governments. The threshold differs across countries.
In India, the Tendulkar committee formed in 2005, defined poverty not in terms of annual income, but in terms of consumption or spending per individual over a certain period for a basket of essential goods. The Tendulkar panel set a benchmark daily per capita expenditure of Rs. 27 and Rs. 33 in rural and urban areas respectively. It was criticised as the numbers were too low and unrealistic. Later the Rangarajan Committee revised the benchmark of daily per capita expenditure to Rs 32 and Rs 47 in rural and urban respectively.(1)
The World Bank’s international poverty line definition is based on purchasing power parity basis, at $1.25 per day.
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
Theme: “Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity”
United Nations observes October 17 of every year as the International Day for the eradication of poverty.
Marking the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN calls to join hands to respect human rights and dignity of those living in extreme poverty. People living in extreme poverty are more vulnerable for human rights abuse.
Joseph Wresinski was the first person to recognise the importance of linking human rights with poverty. He said, “Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.”
Government policies alone cannot create the social inclusion that is fundamental to reaching those left furthest behind and overcoming poverty in all its dimensions. The commemoration of October 17 each year, when people living in poverty take the floor and share their experiences, demonstrates how we can achieve greater social inclusion by enabling people from all walks of life to come together to respect the human rights and dignity of people living in poverty.
The persistence of poverty, including extreme poverty, is a major concern for the United Nations. At its 72nd session, the General Assembly launched the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018–2027), under the theme “Accelerating global actions for a world without poverty”. It is important that the Third Decade’s inter-agency, system-wide plan of action to coordinate the poverty eradication efforts of the United Nations system includes an effective partnership with people living with poverty.