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Poverty Class 11 Notes CBSE Economics Chapter 4 (Free PDF Download)

Last updated date: 09th Apr 2024
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Revision Notes for Class 11 Indian Economic Development Chapter 4 - Free PDF Download

This chapter on economics deals with the issues of poverty and the Indian economic development in general. The various methods to measure poverty are discussed. What is the poverty line, and what are the possible causes of poverty are also elaborated in detail? 

Students will find the topics engaging and interesting. Since it deals with such a grave issue like poverty, the discussion on this chapter can be taken little by little to reduce the pressure on students. For better understanding, Vedantu’s economics chapter 4 class 11 notes come in handy. 

Download CBSE Class 11 Chapter-wise Economics Revision Notes 2023-24 PDF

Also, check CBSE Class 11 Economics revision notes for all chapters:

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Access Class 11 Economics Chapter 4: Poverty


Poverty is the inability to fulfill the minimum requirements of life like basic food requirements, clothing, shelter, health, and education.

Who are the poor?

The poor are characterized by:

  1. Lack of adequate food: Starvation and hunger is a widespread phenomenon for the poor. They are unable to fulfill their minimum food requirements. Also, malnutrition is a key feature among the poor.

  2. Illiteracy and lack of skills: The poor have very limited opportunities due to lack of basic literacy and skills.

  3. Lack of basic amenities and healthcare: They do not have access to clean drinking water, electricity, or basic healthcare facilities. Poor women do not get the required medical care during pregnancy that leads to serious illness and disability for both the child and mother.  Illness makes them physically weak and further limits their opportunities

  4. Unemployment: They face unstable employment. Rural poor work as agriculture labourers with very small landholdings or as landless labourers engaged in non – agricultural activities. The urban poor work in a variety of informal employment or are self-employed, selling a variety of items along roadsides.

  5. Indebtedness: For their survival, the poor borrow from money lenders, who exploit them by charging high interest rates, and this results in chronic indebtedness.

Absolute Poverty:
When the household income is less than a certain level, which makes it not possible for a person or a family to fulfill its basic needs like: shelter, water, food, health care etc.

In this type of poverty, if the nation is growing economically, it has null effect on the people living down below the poverty line. Absolute poverty examines a household based on a set level of income which is different from nation to nation on its economic condition.

Relative poverty:
When the households get 50% less than the average household incomes, and also they have some money but even though not enough money to afford anything apart from the basic necessities. This poverty change depends upon the economic growth of the nation.

How are poor people identified?

Categorizing Poverty

  1. Chronic Poor – Those who are constantly poor, as well as those who are typically poor. As an example, workers who do not own land, i.e., landless workers and those who work on a contract basis, i.e., casual workers.

  2. Transient Poor – Those who keep moving in and out of poverty like the seasonal workers and occasionally poor:who are usually not poor but sometimes, face a rough patch.

  3. Non-poor – Those who are never poor.

Poverty line

  • The poverty line refers to a cutoff point that divides the people of a region as poor and non-poor. The poverty line is a metric for determining absolute poverty.

    • In India, the minimum calorie intake requirement is 2,400 calories in rural areas and 2,100 calories in urban areas.

    • Another way to define the poverty line is based on per capita expenditure. The minimum consumption expenditure per person a month is Rs. 816 in rural areas and Rs. 1000 in urban areas.

  • However, the poverty line does not take into account the various other factors such as illiteracy, ill health, lack of access to basic amenities and resources, lack of civil and political freedom.

The Number of Poor in India

  • The Head Count Ratio measures the number of poor as the proportion of people below the poverty line.

  • Trends in Poverty in India

    • In 1973-74, the number of people below the poverty line was more than 320 million and in terms of proportion, it was 55% of the total population. In 2011-12, the absolute number came down 270 million and by proportion, fell to 22%.

    • More than 80% poor resided in rural areas in 1973-74 which remained unchanged in 2011-12. More than three- fourth of the poor are from rural areas.

    • The absolute number of poor declined in rural areas but increased in urban areas. The poverty ratio declined for both.

  • State-level Trends in Poverty

    • During 1973-2012, the proportion of poor fell from 55 to 22%.

    • Six states – Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Orissa had a large section of poor. This was reduced considerably during 1973-2012.

    • Four states – Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh are in a better position compared to the national poverty rate.

What Causes Poverty?

1. Social, economic, and political inequality

The British rule in India severely aggravated poverty. Our resources were plundered, high taxes were imposed, and goods were procured from India at very low prices.

2. Social Exclusion

Minorities like the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes are not able to grab economic opportunities due to a lack of knowledge and skills due to years of social exclusion.

3. Indebtedness

Farmers are often unable to pay loans they had taken for agricultural and domestic needs on the occasion of crop failure due to natural calamities.

4. Unemployment

India is a country where chronic unemployment and underemployment are widespread phenomena. Poverty is a reflection of unemployment.

5. Unequal distribution of wealth

The government has tried to redistribute resources since independence by taking the land away from those who have it in large amounts and giving it to those who do not have any. But this was hardly successful because the poor did not have the money or skills to make good use of the land.

6. Lack of infrastructure

Economic infrastructure – energy, transportation, communication; and social infrastructure – education, health, and housing were largely deficient.

7. Pressure of population

The population has been trending up at a rapid pace due to the falling death rate. The heavy pressure of the population adds to the dependency burden, implying greater poverty.

Policies and Programmes towards Poverty Alleviation

The government's approach to combat poverty was three-dimensional.

  1. Acceleration of Economic Growth – It was expected that a rapid increase in GDP and per capita income would spread to all sections of society and eradicate poverty. Rapid industrialization and agricultural transformation through the Green Revolution were expected to benefit the backward and underdeveloped regions.

  2. Employment Generation – Income could be raised for the poor through the generation of work. The government aimed to achieve this through poverty alleviation programs.

  3. Basic Amenities – The government aimed at providing basic amenities to people through various schemes like Public Distribution System, Poshan Abhiyan, and Midday Meal Scheme.

Poverty Alleviation Programmes

1. Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana

  • This scheme aims to create self-employment opportunities in urban areas for the educated unemployed. 

  • This scheme facilitates the educated unemployed people to get financial help to set up any kind of enterprise.

2. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA)

  • Under the scheme, all those who are willing to work at the minimum wage are offered work for a minimum period of 100 days

  • Those seeking jobs are to report in rural areas where the program is being launched.

  • Around 5 crore people were granted employment under this scheme.

3. Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY)

The objective of this program is to provide self-employment or wage employment to urban unemployed or underemployed persons.

It consist of two schemes – Urban Self – Employment Programme (USEP) and Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP)

4. Pradhan Mantri Jandhan Yojana

Launched in 2014, this scheme encouraged people in India to open bank accounts. Not only does it promote saving habits, but also lets the government transfer all the benefits of schemes and subsidies directly into the bank accounts

  1. Programs like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana are aimed at improving infrastructure and housing facilities in India.

Critical Assessment of Poverty Alleviation Programmes

  • Notable Observation – The percentage of absolute poor in some states is better than the national average.

  • Shortcomings

    • Many of the benefits of direct poverty alleviation programs were reaped by non – poor due to unequal distribution of land and other assets.

    • Government and bank officials had a huge role to play in these programs. They were either ill-motivated, inadequately trained, corrupt, and vulnerable to pressure from local elites.

    • There was a lack of support from local institutions in the implementation of these programs.

    • Policies did not address the people living just above the poverty line.

    • Inactive participation of the poor, owing to constraints of accessibility in remote areas in interiors of villages.

Poverty Chapter Economics Class 11 Notes PDF

Students studying this chapter may encounter many difficulties with it since it is purely conceptual. There are many nuanced theories, and it requires a highly finetuned mind to understand the various sub-topics of the chapter. To counter this problem faced by students, Vedantu has developed economics class 11 chapter 4 notes. 

The notes thus created, simplify the studying process and help students to progress in their education. They make concepts clear and enhance the understanding of any pupil who feels weak in the subject.

Class 11 Economics Notes Chapter 4

Vedantu’s notes are written in a concise and straightforward manner. They make a student’s life easier and are aimed at improving the overall knowledge of the students. 

  • Poverty Chapter Economics Class 11 Notes PDF: Poverty

This section deals with the definition of what is poverty and the two measures that are used to calculate it. The two methods are absolute poverty and relative poverty. These topics are discussed in detail.

  • Poverty Chapter Economics Class 11 Notes PDF: Poverty Line

These notes then progress into a definition of what is the poverty line. Five features of the poverty line are appropriately elaborated and explained.

  • Class 11 Indian Economics Chapter 4 Notes: Causes of Poverty

There are five methods to understand what are the causes of poverty. These are explained in thorough detail.

  • Class 11 Economics Chapter 4 Notes: Ways to Remove Poverty

Five ways to reduce and remove poverty are elaborated in much detail. These methods to reduce poverty are accelerating growth, reducing the inequality of income, and population control.

  • Chapter 4 Poverty Class 11 Notes: Government Measures to Remove Poverty

The government of India brought about many reforms, and some of them are schemes implemented to alleviate those who live below the poverty line. Details of these schemes are intricately presented.


  • Poverty Chapter Economics Class 11 Notes PDF: Measuring Number of Poor

This section discusses the headcount ratio, which is an essential concept regarding the poverty line.

  • Poverty Chapter Economics Class 11 Notes PDF: Characteristics of Poor People

There are five characteristics of poor people which are laid out. These characteristics are hunger, malnutrition and starvation. Also, poor health and limited economic opportunities are an example of these characteristics.

Poverty chapter economics class 11 notes is a useful tool for students. They can refer to these notes at their convenience whenever they like. These notes are free and come in an easy to download format. Making the study of economics both enjoyable and simplified, these notes are worth using.

FAQs on Poverty Class 11 Notes CBSE Economics Chapter 4 (Free PDF Download)

1. What is poverty?

Poverty is that condition of life when a person is unable to meet any of his needs, both physical and basic needs. Such people find it difficult to pay for or fulfil their necessities. They lack the necessary means to accomplish this task. There are two ways in which one can measure poverty. One is the absolute poverty technique, and the other is a relative poverty technique. Utilising both these methods, students can gauge the poverty levels. As a student, if you have any difficulty in understanding the topic, you can always refer to poverty chapter economics class 11 notes pdf.

2. What is the poverty line?

The line of cut off on the line of distribution that divides the country into poor and non-poor is known as the poverty line. Those whose income falls below that line are called poor, and those whose income is above the line are called non-poor. When the planning commission decides on the line, it takes into consideration the food consumption. Using this definition, economists can easily denote who is below the line and who falls upon the line. Make use of class 11 economics poverty notes, and gain a complete understanding of the subject.

3. What are the causes of poverty?

There are several causes of poverty, and these can be explained in a nutshell. Population explosion is a major cause of poverty as is a high rate of unemployment. Even unequal wage distribution is counted among the causes of poverty. A high illiteracy rate can also result in a high percentage of unemployment as the population is not qualified to hold good jobs. Lastly, political factors are the primary cause of unemployment. The government of any country is responsible for creating jobs and encouraging the economy to grow. Chapter 4 economics class 11 notes will be helpful to any student that does not understand this concept.

4. How do you categorize poverty according to Chapter 11 Indian Economic Development of Class 11 Economics?

Chronic poor are those people who are always and usually poor but they may sometimes have a little money as we see in the case of casual workers. Another category is the transient poor consisting of the churning poor who constantly move in and out of poverty including seasonal and small workers and the occasionally poor who are rich most of the time but sometimes get out of luck and become poor. The non-poor are those who never get out of poverty.

5. What is the basis of the poverty line in India according to Chapter 11 Indian Economic Development of Class 11 Economics?

A poverty line is an economic tool used to measure poverty. The poverty line is measured by taking the Monthly Per Capita Expenditure (MPCE) into consideration. In the year 2011-12, the poverty line as per the per capita expenditure was defined to be the consumption of Rs 816 per person in a month in rural areas and Rs 1000 per person in a month for people in urban areas. Consumption below this level means that they are below the poverty line.

These solutions are available on Vedantu's official website( and mobile app free of cost.

6. What are the cons of using MPCE as the basis for the poverty line according to Chapter 11 Indian Economic Development of Class 11 Economics?

The poverty line used by the government in India is based on the Monthly Per Capita Expenditure, which is the monetary value of the minimum calories intake estimated for rural and urban areas. The fault in using this basis to calculate the poverty line is that it does not differentiate between the very poor and the poor. Moreover, income and assets cannot be the sole consideration for poverty. Other factors like access to education, drinking water, sanitation, and health are equally important.

7. What is development according to Chapter 11 Indian Economic Development of Class 11 Economics?

Development is removing any obstacle that is in the way of things that a person can do in his life. For example, illiteracy, poor sanitation, ill health, poor access to resources or limited access to political and civil freedoms. Poverty alleviation is one development programme that governments have undertaken. Other development measures include providing education, an increase in agricultural production, and a high rate of employment. One of the main aims is also to improve the standard of living of people.

8. Why is poverty so rampant in India according to Chapter 11 Indian Economic Development of Class 11 Economics?

Ans: Poverty in India is rampant because of the following reasons -  

  • lack of quality education and skills 

  • social, political, and economic inequality 

  • high unemployment rate 

  • social exclusion as in the case of Dalits and women 

  • indebtedness 

  • unequal distribution of wealth which is making the rich richer and the poor poorer

  • poor infrastructure

  • lack of demand

  • low capital formation

To cover all other important points from this chapter, download the CBSE Class 11 Economics Indian Economic Development Notes Chapter 4 today.