ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Recounting the Poor: Poverty in India, 1983-99

After summarising the controversy over the magnitude of Indian poverty, this paper discusses the trends in the survey capture ratio and the possible sources and magnitude of errors contained in both the households surveys and national accounts. The paper proceeds then to estimate poverty in India in 1999-2000 according to different methods, emphasising in particular a method which uses information about increases in NSS household survey-measured real wages between 1983 and 1999. The paper concludes that, in particular in the light of data from the national sample surveys, it is almost incontrovertible that poverty in India was less than 15 per cent in 1999-2000 - which is some conceptual distance away from the corresponding 35 to 40 per cent World Bank estimate for the same year and is nearly half the official government of India estimate of 26 per cent.

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