Poverty alleviation has been an overarching goal of India’s development efforts since its Independence. In pursuing this objective, the planning process in the country has devised several interventions, often successful but sometimes overlapping. The Government of India, deeply concerned with widespread poverty, has implemented several anti-poverty schemes. These schemes have given thrust on creating adequate livelihood opportunities for the marginalised segments of the population, provisioning of public services and goods for improving standard and quality of life, strengthening of institutions and delivery mechanisms to empower the poor and targeted development of backward regions through resource transfers and supportive policy measures. To ensure inclusive growth, the emphasis on having a more desirable composition of gross domestic product (GDP) growth by targeting an average 4 per cent per annum growth in AgGDP has found favour with the policy makers in the country’s Eleventh Five Year Plan (Government of India, 2007-12). Though there has been a significant decline in the incidence of poverty at the national level in India, there are several concerns that take away the shine from this Accomplishment. In spite of significant reduction in poverty, India is home to about 315 million poor people, 74 per cent of them residing in the rural areas. Further, the concentration of poverty is more rampant in landless agricultural labour households and marginal farm households which account for more than 50 per cent of the total poor in India. Therefore, the needs and aspirations of these vulnerable groups must be taken care of to ensure inclusive growth in agriculture. Most of the studies conducted so far are focused on the aggregate rural and urban poverty and the dynamics of poverty among farming households and agricultural labour households has not been studied much. In this backdrop, this paper examines the trends in poverty rates among farming and agricultural labour households; their linkages with agricultural growth, and possibilities of achieving targeted growth in agriculture.
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