Understanding the Poverty Amelioration Programmes of the Congress: the Narratives from the Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi Years

Raj Sekhar Basu


This article explores in details the poverty amelioration programmes which had been initiated by the Congress Party after independence during the Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi years.In a period of three decades,there were a number of strategies which were pursued to eradicate the high level of poverty which were prevailing in the rural areas of the country.By the end of the 1950s, there was a definite move to eradicate rural poverty through definite programmes.The absence of proper land reform legislations and the dominance of the upper and middle class leadership of the Congress prevented the Government machinery in initiating plans for the amelioration of the economic status of the small peasants and the agricultural labourers. The Nehruvian logic of an integrated agricultural development found shape in the Twenty Point Programme of the 1970s. These policies had their own successes and weaknesses and they could to some extent reduce the poverty figures by the early 1980s.The most interesting side of this narrative is the states‘ deep involvement with the poverty reduction schemes,which by the early 1980s came to be criticised by a dominant section of the Congress.Such debates were responsible for the shift towards a liberalized market economy in India which instead of reducing poverty, increased the prospects of a rich poor divide in the society.


Five Year Plans; Integrated Agricultural Development Programme; Twenty Point Programme; National Sample Survey and Green Revolution

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236