Ever since time immemorial, Poverty has been a social phenomenon of the society in which a large section is unable to fulfill even its basic necessities of life. In Punjab, the rate of poverty has been large and due to the same the state has been prone to low productivity. The root cause of this menace is rising population, lack of employment opportunities and illiteracy. However, since the last few years of the responsive functioning of the Shiromani Akali Dal – BJP state government the poverty rate in Punjab has witnessed shrinkage.
The department of planning, government of Punjab has planned a lifelong objective to bring down the poverty rate in the state, as soon as possible so that Punjab continues to be the apex in terms of poverty reduction. Owing to their concentrated efforts, Punjab was seen to have the lowest rate of hunger in the Global Hunger Index, 2008. A number of poverty alleviation programmes have been initiated by the government such as the Integrated Rural Development Programme, Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), Training of Rural Youth for Self – Employment, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) etc. Numbers sourced by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSS0), for the fiscal year 2011 – 2012 the planning commission claimed that Punjab witnessed the fastest and a steep decline of 7.8 % in the poverty rate in the state.
The major cities of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala, Bathinda, Mohali, Rajpura, Faridkot, Mandi Gobindgarh, Firozpur, Rajpura, Moga, Sangrur and Khanna have been contributing progressively towards the development of the state in terms of industrial, financial and agricultural state. Punjab has incredulously fertile land, owing to which the agricultural sector is the apex contributor to the upward movement of the growth trajectory of Punjab in terms of the economic growth as well as the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).
The ministry of statistics and Programme Implementation estimated Punjab to have 2,213,320 (Indian Rupee/ Ten Million/ Crores) Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in the year 2011. The extensive efforts of the state government towards the expansion of the textile industry, sugar industry, dairy industry, thermal power plants, multi – national companies, agro – based industry, business and infrastructure has chipped in towards accelerating the macro – economic trend and eradicating poverty in the state of Punjab. Various voluntary organizations are also operating in the state, which help in curbing the menace of poverty in Punjab.
It would not be wrong to claim that, the concentrated efforts by the Shiromani Akali Dal – BJP led state government of Punjab has been successful to a large extent for poverty alleviation in the state by accelerating the agricultural development, economic growth, equal opportunities, human resource development, self-help programmes and the various poverty alleviation programmes. This is clearly evident by the fact, that the state has one of the lowest rate of poverty in the country, which is 6.16% (1999 – 2000 figures), and also bagged the best state performance award.