Simply speaking, poverty is the inability to get the minimum basic requirements for life.
These include food, clothing, housing, education and medical facilities etc. If a person is not able to meet these needs, he is said to be poor.
Poverty is a relative term. Its meaning changes with the changed economic conditions of every country. According to Danekar and Rath, “Those who do not get 2250 calories of food daily are below the poverty line”. The people living below poverty line (BPL) are called poor. To get these calories per capita per month income should be Rs. 15 in villages and Rs. 22.5 in towns at 1960-61 prices.
Planning Commission defined that those living in towns who do not get 2400 calories (per person per day) from their food and villagers who do not get 2000 calories from their food are below poverty line. For it, per capita monthly income should be Rs. 107 in the villages and Rs. 122 in town at 1984-85 prices. According to Planning Commission, persons spending Rs. 452 on consumption in urban areas and Rs. 328 in rural areas per month at 2000-01 prices should be considered below the poverty line.
Extent of Poverty:
It is clear from the table that in 1977-78, 48.3% of the total population was below poverty line. In 1984-85 it becomes 36.9%. In 1993-94 it became 36%. In 1999-2000 it reduced to 26.10%. In 2006-07, the estimated percentage is 19.3.