Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY): Luxuries in life are very scarce all over the country and most of us reading this article have no idea as to what poverty really means. Sadly, approximately one-third of our population is well below the poverty line. It is sad to know that so many people in our country are suffering, and nothing much can be done by us to save them.
Not only money-wise, but these strata of society is also suffering health-wise. The prevalence of communicable diseases in the slum areas (where most of them live) is extremely high, causing outbreaks everywhere, and killing a lot of the people. More than 50% of the population below the poverty line is also malnourished and mentally depressed. All of this goes unnoticed to a large extent.
There have been countless efforts on the side of the government to try an alleviate this social evil. Most of them have been unsuccessful. Mostly because of the large proportion of people facing the issue and also because of lack of resources.
As you all know, since Narendra Modi has become the Prime Minister of India, he has been investing in various schemes aiming to improve the lives of the special classes of society, who were somewhat neglecting earlier such as the people below the poverty line, the senior citizens, farmers and many more.
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) is another such scheme which was initiated to alleviate this problem.
What is the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna?
the PMGKY scheme was launched in 2015 after the demonetisation scheme as an amendment to the taxation laws back then, to allow the taxpayers with undisclosed funds (black money) to exchange their funds without facing prosecution, provided they pay a tax of 50% the amount.
A certain percentage of this fund was used for poverty alleviation and helping the less fortunate in the financial aspects of their life. Under this scheme, those people who have given the penalty will have access to their funds later in the future.
How does PMGKY help the poor and less fortunate?
All the funds acquired through the demonetisation scheme, from these black money holders, is invested into the betterment of the lives of the less fortunate. The money is being used for the education, healthcare, nutrition and infrastructure betterment.
In case a person doesn’t disclose their full funds- they are subject to a significantly higher percentage penalty- which is again being used for the welfare of the less fortunate.
How was the response?
As was expected, not everyone came forward with their undisclosed amounts because of steep rates of penalty. An approximate Rs 5000 crore was deposited under this scheme, which may seem like a lot, but considering the population to be helped, it not much.
A lot of people questioned the usefulness of the scheme, but ultimately, it didn’t do any harm (unless you are the tax evader of course!). In my opinion, it was a good way to get rid of two evils at once- corruption and poverty. It was a well thought out plan, allowing the tax evaders to come clean for the second time after demonetisation, and using those funds to help the poor. Criticism is prevalent for anything that is being done, but the efforts should be taken into account.
The aspect that needs to be attended to
When we think of poverty, our minds always come to the obvious problem- finance. We fail to think of other effects on their life other than their money issues. While this is the root of most of their problems, there are a lot of other areas aiding the vicious cycle.
Let’s talk about one of the more obvious reasons for poverty before moving to the more complex, building ones. India is the 2nd most populated country in the world, and most of us know that. Yet we do next to nothing to alleviate that problem. The population is gradually rising even today. There were several schemes by the government to help reduce the population like “Hum Do Hamare Do” giving benefits to those who choose to have only two offsprings.
Logically speaking, the more the number of people in the country, the higher the competition for all resources and jobs. And this isn’t something we are unaware of, it is just something we choose to ignore. While many of us may actually follow the “two offspring” rule, who is going to educate the less fortunate, who don’t understand the meaning of a proper education? If you enter the slums, you will see many couples with 4, 5 or even 6 children each, even though they don’t have resources to feed them!
So, education in this matter is a must. It isn’t enough to introduce schemes. While these schemes can be motivation enough, many of the people have no idea they exist!
Most of the people under the poverty line are clinically depressed. Sad, but true. The thing is, most of them go undiagnosed, simply because of the stigma of seeking help for mental disturbances. While it is okay to seek help for a fever, it is simply not okay (according to an average Indian) to seek help for any kind of mental deficiencies or problems. Being depressed severely affects a person’s life and is suspected to be a major future cause for morbidity and mortality.
Not just depression, but violent tendencies of the people below the poverty lines are just downright scary. The level of abuse in the houses of such individuals is very awakening and should be addressed.
But why is this such an issue? Mental health affects physical health and vice versa. A person not mentally healthy is not going to lead a very happy or fulfilling life unless they seek help. The quality of life for that person and the people around them deteriorates.
Awareness must be spread about such issues. A simple motto I like to follow- “it is okay, to not be okay”. It must be understood that seeking help is not shameful, but a very brave thing to do.
This is a more obvious one. Overpopulation leads to overcrowding, and overcrowding leads to the spread of many communicable diseases. Epidemics are spread very easily amongst these people and the mortality rates among such people can be very high. This happens mainly due to the lack of financial resources and overcrowding.
Nutrition is also a major problem with many of the children and infants being born to malnourished mothers. Deaths have occurred because of this. This mainly has to do with the fight for limited and expensive resources. Malnourished and weak children and adults are spread throughout their community.
This has, to a certain extent been helped by some initiatives taken by the government like the mid-meal plan for such people to provide nutritious food and many others.
We must also play our part by helping educate the people about what a good meal means, helping in charity work in whatever way we can.
The Vicious Poverty Cycle
This is a psychological model presented as a way to explain the widespread poverty. It basically says that poor parents give birth to poor children. This means that a poverty-stricken parent is more likely to give birth to children who might not do anything about it, hence remaining in the same situation.
This happens because of many reasons. First is the lack of motivation. The parents are just concerned about the here and the now and do not think about the future. If given an opportunity to give a necessity up in the present to make their future infinitely better, they will choose the necessity.
This is because of a lack of trust in the future, because of present circumstances. This can be very unrelatable but is a very true fact. All these people are concerned with is trying to find a way to preserve their present- they have no long term goals. This mentality is pushed onto the children, and they tend to do that same.
The second reason is the blame game. A lot of us think that these impoverished people are responsible for what is happening to them and don’t help them out. Lot of us refuse to believe that there are many other circumstances that revolve around their condition. Similarly, the impoverished people also refuse to take responsibility and blame everyone around them (mainly the government) for all their problem, thus not working toward their goals.
The third reason is a more basic and less complicated one. A child born to an impoverished family doesn’t have the same resources to make something out of himself/herself as the average child. He will not get a chance to flourish the same way and show his/her abilities, thus getting caught up in the loop.
While the idea of achieving a poverty-free environment seems very idealistic, keeping in mind the present circumstances, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana is attempting to make a change. Although the success is questionable, even a small step paves the way for a Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan yojanabrighter future.