Despite swanky malls, large cars, and real estate developing in a big way in Jammu and Kashmir, the state also shares ignominy of having every one in five persons under the poverty line. While both Jammu and Srinagar may outwardly show wealth but in reality there has been a steep rise in the number of people who are below poverty line.
A report reveals that there has been steady increase in poverty in the last two decades, and estimated population of BPL residents is almost at 21.63 per cent of total population of the state. The number comes to 24.21 lakh persons of whom 26.14 percent (22.00 lakh persons) are from rural areas and 7.96 percent (2.21 lakh persons) live in urban areas.
The poverty is more acute in rural areas whereas the urban pockets have lesser poverty in the state which has also suffered depredation because of militancy, and lack of industry development. In Jammu, the total BPL population has been estimated at 10.59 lakh persons with majority of the poor in villages.
In Kashmir region, the proportion of poor is 21.37 percent of the population with maximum number of poor (11.63 lakh) in rural areas and 7.87 percent (1.28 lakh persons) in urban areas. Among the various districts of Jammu and Kashmir, seven show acute poverty at 30 to per cent of the population, 9 have poverty between 0 to 30 per cent, 5 have poverty between 10-20 per cent, and one has lowest number of poor at 4.55 per cent.
The seven poorest districts in state include Reasi, Ramban, Kishtwar, Poonch, Kupwara, Kargil and Bandipora. Policy planners meanwhile say that the rise in poverty has been due to the failure of the state’s poverty alleviation schemes. Massive amount of funds being channelized through social welfare schemes are allegedly siphoned off by the corrupt officials in collusion with contractors, and the result has been zero.