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

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Poverty and Income Distribution in India

K N Ninan Against the background of global poverty and income distribution pattern, this paper analyses the trends and causal factors behind rural poverty in India both at the national and state levels during 1957-58 to 1986-87. Adopting an alternate model and categorisation of the time period of analysis into two phases which is empirically and theoretically justified the paper observes that contrary to the findings of other researchers, not only are there distinct time trends in the incidence of rural poverty in India, but also while these trends were positive and significant in Period I (1957-58 to 1968-69), they were negative and significant in Period II (1969-70 to 1986-87). Also, the rate of decline in the incidence of rural poverty in the latter period was much higher than the rate of increase in rural poverty in the preceding period. These observations are valid for both all-India and across states, using alternate measures of poverty, i e, the head count ratio and Sen's poverty index. The paper then attempts both a time series and cross-section analysis of the causal factors behind rural poverty in India, especially probing into the role of agricultural growth, inflation, access to subsidised food through the public distribution system, population pressure on environmental resources, rural consumption levels and inequality, and infrastructure development on the incidence of rural poverty for all-India and across states.

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