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

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Poverty and Deprivation in India

Building on the asset-based indicator, this paper estimates deprivation in India. The results suggest that there is a difference in the regional ranking of poverty based on the long-term picture of vulnerability provided by the asset-based indicator of deprivation. It also shows that while consumption poverty could identify the poor as a group, it cannot identify who among the poor are suffering from long-term deprivation, thus seeking a prompt policy attention.

Household Consumption Expenditure Inequality in Rural India (1993–94 to 2011–12)

The comparative role of determinants of household-level consumption expenditure inequalities (henceforth, inequalities) in rural India between two sub-periods, 1994–2005 and 2005–12 are examined, using three rounds of the National Sample Survey Consumer Expenditure Survey. The changes in the components of consumption expenditure and population characteristics are explored that explain inequalities during the two sub-periods, which represent distinct policy environments. We use both a priori and regression-based decomposition methods for the analysis. We find that there is a complete reversal of the role of education in explaining inequalities. It shifted from being an inequality-increasing factor during 1994–2005 to an inequality-equalising factor during 2005–12. This reversal is induced by decreasing consumption returns to education due to the depressed job market. The role of locational factors has increased in explaining the increase in inequalities over time. The non-food components induce an increase in the overall inequalities via an increased expenditure on durables. The within-group component contributes the most to the level of and change in inequalities.

Kalahandi’s Poverty and Dana Majhi

The course of historical injustice and feudal-led colonisation in Kalahandi remains uncorrected through a structural exclusion of the marginalised.

Skeletal Health Services Cannot Resist Pandemics

The huge interstate disparities and glacial pace of improvement further add to the problems.

Agricultural Transformation or Compromising Food Security

A response to the paper “Water and Agricultural Transformation in India: A Symbiotic Relationship—I” by Mihir Shah, P S Vijayshankar, and Francesca Harris (EPW, 17 July 2021) argues that the solutions proposed in the paper will neither revolutionise India’s agriculture sector nor minimise the water and soil problems listed.

Portability in the Public Distribution System

The public distribution system in India is a major instrument for achieving the goal of “Zero Hunger.” Despite the vast amounts of resources spent, the PDS suffers from several inefficiencies largely attributable to the monopoly of agents involved in the last-mile delivery of grains. To address this issue, several state governments in India have started implementing a novel intervention called portability. This intervention offers beneficiaries the choice of when and where they can avail of their food entitlements while the government controls what and how much. We use detailed and large-scale programme data from Andhra Pradesh to analyse the uptake of portability among the beneficiaries and identify its underlying drivers.

Should We Abolish the Minimum Wage?

While heated debates persist in developed countries regarding the continuation of the minimum wage laws, they still remain popular around the world. Unemployment concerns around the minimum wage fade away when the monopsony nature of the labour market is taken into consideration. Given the distinct nature of workers earning minimum wages in low-income countries when compared to high-income ones, it remains significantly effective in tackling inequality in the former. The job polarisation because of the labour-replacing technologies of today underlines the importance of such a measure. Thus, there is still a need for minimum wage, more so for low-income countries.

Revamped Poverty Estimates

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

Regional Variations in Multidimensional Poverty

Regional variations in multidimensional poverty and inequality are analysed for the two different administrative regions of Tripura—village committees under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council and gram panchayats under the panchayati raj institutions—using a primary survey. Special emphasis is laid on the deprivations of households with regard to health, education, and the standard of living across these two administrative regions as well as the rural development blocks. The level of multidimensional poverty and incidence appears to be higher in village committees than gram panchayats even though the average deprivation among the poor is around 40% for both the areas with robust between-group inequality.

Faith-based Financial Exclusion

The United Kingdom was at the forefront of opening Islamic windows in its financial system with the objective of achieving financial inclusion of Muslims without compromising their value systems. India refused to think in that direction with its large Muslim population being excluded from financial deepening, which is a crucial pillar of poverty reduction. The consequent lower business potential of districts with a higher proportion of Muslim population has led to lower branch density and loan rates, affecting the general population as well. Jammu and Kashmir, in districts where the proportion of Muslims is higher, also reflects these trends observed in other states.

Caste Dimensions of Poverty and Wealth

Large income and asset deficits disempower the disadvantaged castes.

Acquiring Land in India

The Political Economy of Land Acquisition in India: How a Village Stops Being One by Dhanmanjiri Sathe, Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan (Imprint by Springer Nature), 2017; pp xvi + 204, price not indicated.

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