Who are the Poor?
In any society, there are both the rich and the poor. Push cart vendors, cobblers, maids, women selling flowers, beggars, ragpickers etc are examples of the poor in the urban sector. They have very less or no assets. They reside in hutments made of baked mud and roofs made of grass, hay, bamboo etc. The poorest of them do not even have a house like the one described above. In the rural sector, the poor are landless. Those who posses land do not have ways and means to irrigate them as these lands are generally dry and are more of wastelands. The poor cannot manage to have two meals a day. Poverty is characterized by hunger and starvation. Poor people have unstable employment and are usually illiterate and don't have basic skills too.
Ill health, disability, serious illness and malnutrition run very high in the poor. These also make the poor very weak physically. The poor borrow heavily from money lenders who charge exorbitant rates of interests and hence remain eternally indebted. They cannot negotiate the wages due to them legally and hence they get exploited badly. The household of the poor lack basic amenities and are generally without the supply of electricity. They use cow dung and firewood as their fuel for cooking and they do not have access to drinking water too. Gender inequality is also high in the households of the poor especially when it comes to education and gainful employment. The poor women do not get adequate care during the period of pregnancy and motherhood. The children, thus born are not very healthy and prone to death.
The poor are classified as poor on the basis of their assets and ownership of assets. Scholars state that the poor in the rural sector work mainly as landless agricultural labourers of tillers with very minimal lands. They are also landless labourers who work in non agricultural areas and tenant tillers with small lands. The urban poor consists mainly of those who have come from the rural areas to the urban sector in search of employment and who do a variety of casual jobs which are unstable. People who are self employed with a variety of roadside shops also constitute the urban poor.