Read the passages carefully and choose the best answer to each question out of the four alternatives.

Poverty can be defined as a social phenomenon in which a section of the society is unable to fulfill even its basic necessities of life. When a substantial segment of the society is deprived of the minimum level of living and continues at a bare
subsistence level, that society is said to be plagued with mass poverty. The
countries of the third world exhibit invariably the existence of mass poverty,
although pockets of poverty exist even in the developed countries of Europe and America.

Attempts have been made in all societies to define poverty, but all of them are
conditioned by the vision of minimum or good life obtaining in society. For instance, the concept of poverty in the U.S.A. would be significantly different from that in India because the average man is able to afford a much higher level of living in the United States. There is an effort in all definitions of poverty to approach the average level of living in a society and as such these definitions reflect the coexistence of inequalities in a society and the extent to which different societies are prepared to tolerate them. For instance, in India, the generally accepted definition of poverty emphasizes minimum level of living rather than a reasonable level of living. This attitude is borne out of a realization that it would not be possible to provide even a minimum quantum of basic needs for some decades and therefore, to talk about a reasonable level of living or good life may appear to be wishful thinking at the present stage. Thus, political considerations enter the definitions of poverty because programmes of alleviating poverty may become prohibitive as the vision of a good life widens.

Question 193

What do all definitions of poverty do ?

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