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

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State Discourse on Poverty

Poverty and hunger emerged as a spectre of the Indian state in the 1960s when the possibility of a Red Revolution haunted the political establishment. The first major attempt to measure poverty in India was undertaken by V M Dandekar and N Rath in the late 1960s as a counter-insurgency measure. Poverty studies gained sufficient strength in the 1970s and by the early 1980s managed to take away “a sufficient chunk of international funding for social science”.

Estimation of poverty is a great paradox in India. Jean Dreze drew our attention to this paradox: Nothing is easier than to recognise a poor person when you see him or her. Yet the task of identifying and counting the poor seems to elude the country’s best experts.

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