Poverty Alleviation Policy in Indonesia

Poverty is one of the major problem in Indonesia, as a developing country, which are currently ranked fourth in the list of World’s Most Populous Countries. With the population of over 240 million people, and population growth rate of 2,6 million people per yer, the solution is not simply by overcoming the population explosion, but also by improving the living qualities of the people. Good human resources quality is not only a tangible proof of the State’s successes, but also as a benchmark for comparing Indonesia’s qualities with that of other countries. In the year 2009, Indonesia’s position in Human Development Index (IPM)is still at number 111, below other Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

With such lagged Human Development conditions, it is important to improve the living qualities of our people, in order to increase our nation’s competitiveness and to achieve prosperity for the people. These efforts cannot be done simply by increasing the allocation of funds for poor people, but must also be fortified by creating innovative policies and planning of programs to empower our poor people.

Within Chapter XVI of Dokumen RPJM Nasional (National Medium-Term Development Plan Document) Year 2004-2009 about Poverty Reduction, the Government of Indonesia has chosen the Basic Human Rights approach as the frame of reference for poverty reduction, which are oriented towards the efforts to achieve respect, protection and fullfillment of the 10 Basic Human Rights.

Even so there are only a few fulfillments of Basic Human Rights which our Government was able to achieve, and many still require improvements. In one example, there are many poor people who still does not have access to basic health services, and there are still many levies which are charged to them. This condition is a challenge for TNP2K to coordinate the realization of our agenda in the Basic Human Rights fullfillment, as an effort of poverty reduction, not only in the form of policy and program planning, but also to ensure the consistency in the commencement of such programs and policies, in cross-sectoral matters and in cross-actoral matters, of all stakeholders in proverty reduction.

We should appreciate the Government policy in Kabinet Indonesia Bersatu, which states an intention to reduce poverty level from 16,66 % (or 36,15 million people) in the year 2004 to 8,2 % in the year 2009, as written in RPJM Nasional (National Medium-Term Development Plan) 2004-2009. This goes on to show that the Government of Indonesia are making serious efforts in poverty reduction.

The role of Kepala Daerah (Head of Territories such as Governor, Regent or Major) are very important in poverty reduction. The lagging in the reduction of poverty is also caused by lack of coordination between poverty reduction programs and policies in the provinces, and poverty reduction programs and policies of the National government. Nowadays, plenty of poverty reduction programs being run by the Provincial Governments are programs initiated by the National government. To remedy this situation, TNP2K has clustered all poverty reduction programs into three (3) major clusters as follows: Social Assistance and Protection Cluster (Kelompok Program Bantuan dan Perlindungan Sosial), Community Empowerment Cluster (Kelompok Program Pemberdayaan Masyarakat), and Small and Medium Enterprises Empowerment (Kelompok Program Pemberdayaan Usaha Mikro dan Kecil). At this moment, the clusterization of poverty reduction programs has been executed at National level, and are expected to be synergized with future poverty reduction programs and policies, which the Provincial Governments will initiate in the future.