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

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Avoidable Controversy on Multidimensional Poverty

Given three alternate approaches to projecting poverty figures— (i) ignoring the impact of COVID-19, (ii) including it fully, and (iii) excluding only the peak impact—NITI Aayog choosing the data set that excludes the peak months of COVID-19 in 2020, as has been done in the National Family Health Survey-5, seems appropriate. However, any attempt to explain poverty reduction in a year in terms of developments or programmatic interventions in that year is unlikely to go unchallenged.

 

 

Multidimensional Poverty as an Instrument of Programmatic Intervention

Conceptual and operational issues for constructing multidimensional poverty indices in India are discussed and the possibilities of its application for strategic interventions are examined in this article. It argues that questions concerning the selection of indicators, data sources, weightages, threshold limits, etc, have to be addressed through a consultative process, keeping it above the short-term politics of the regime.

Technological Optimism, Fiscal Conservatism

Indian Agriculture Towards 2030: Pathways for Enhancing Farmers’ Income, Nutritional Security and Sustainable Food and Farm Systems edited by Ramesh Chand, Pramod Joshi and Shyam Khadka, Delhi: Springer, 2022; pp 311, Open Access.

Methodological Issues in SDG India Index

The Sustainable Development Goal India Index released by NITI Aayog continues to attract public attention. This article highlights a few problems in SDG India Index—the method of aggregation, capping normalised score to be 100 when states perform better than the targeted level, data gaps, and lack of sensitivity analysis of the composite index—which need to be relooked.

Reflections on the NITI Aayog Multidimensional Poverty Index

The availability of information from the pan-India household survey, the National Family Health Survey, facilitates the adoption of the global multidimensional poverty framework and helps in generating results for the Indian states and districts, but it fails to capture the true level of multiple deprivations in better-off states and urban areas. The explicit limitation of the fresh endeavour by the NITI Aayog is its lack of comparability across the spectrum of human development within the country.

Sustainable Development Goals

The article notes that the north-eastern states have taken many initiatives to implement and localise the Sustainable Development Goals. But achieving the targets require a multipronged approach, concerted and coordinated efforts, and focus on sectors where the region has inherent advantages. Unfortunately, the pandemic has cast some doubts on the feasibility of achieving the goals as per the original timelines.

 

Revamped Poverty Estimates

The widening poverty within and across the region and states demands reorganisation of development priority.

 

Status of Women’s Reproductive Health in Bihar

Based on the National Family Health Survey data for 2015–16 and 2019–20, the article shows the precarious sexual and reproductive health of women in Bihar. While there are some improvements in this period, multiple indicators emerging from social and institutional determinants continue to show poor SRH of women in the state.

 

Climate Change and Disaster Management

Avinash Persaud had raised the issue of data gaps on climate change in his H T Parekh Finance column. It is elucidated herein that when different players assess the area of relevance to develop their strategies, games help in narrowing data gaps. This has immediate policy relevance because the Biden presidency’s approach to climate change has greater concern on the rights of forest dwellers of native populations.

Some Methodological Issues in India’s SDG Index Report 2019

The second edition (2019) of the Sustainable Development Goals Index India Report released by the NITI Aayog is an enhanced version that builds on the baseline report of 2018. However, the second edition could not address the methodological issues sufficiently. The justifications and coverage on several aspects, such as proxy indicator identification, target setting, state categorisation, imputation of indicators, data gaps are found to be weak. This commentary highlights some of the problems identified in the report and suggests possible solutions, which can bring more credibility and statistical acceptance to the future SDG index reports.

Indian Fiscal Federalism at the Crossroads

The abolition of the Planning Commission, the creation of the NITI Aayog, the constitutional amendment to introduce the goods and services tax, the establishment of the goods and services tax council, and the historically high tax devolution to the states based on the Fourteenth Finance Commission have changed the union–state fiscal relations fundamentally. The changing contours of union–state fiscal relations discussed in the context of the release of a recent book Indian Fiscal Federalism by Y V Reddy and G R Reddy are presented here.

NITI Aayog’s Health Index

Based on a critical review of the NITI Aayog’s recently published “Healthy States, Progressive India,” it is argued that the report provides only a superficial insight into the overall health attainment. Much deeper and careful analysis is required if one aims to unfold the complexity and varied contexts provided by Indian states, let alone ranking them on health attainment. The method of calculating the index in the report compromises scientific rigour, and the inferences drawn are highly misleading.

 

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