India was once known for its abundant resources and prosperity. Foreign rule had made India a poor country. Poverty is the state of being poor. 27.5 percent of the total population of India lives below the poverty line. According to the United Nations Development Programme’s, Human Development Report, India was ranked 126th among 177 countries. People living below the poverty line are deprived of the basic requirements of life. The chief causes of poverty are over-population, unemployment, uneven distribution of resources, slow industrial growth, rise in the cost of living, etc. Poverty leads to many social and economic problems. Several anti-poverty programmes have been launched over the years. The Five Year Plans need to carry out programmes more effectively.