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

A+| A| A-

Neoliberalism and Rural Poverty in India

Many economic and social indicators suggest that not only is the level of absolute poverty in India high, there has also been an adverse impact of neoliberal policies on poverty. And yet, the poverty estimates by the Planning Commission and many individual academics, both using a method that renders irrelevant the question of a nutrition norm, show low levels as well as decline in poverty over the 1990s and beyond. This article proves that both comparisons over time of the all-India and state-level estimates of poverty as well as any comparison at a point in time of poverty levels across states, obtained by this method, are invalid. Using a direct poverty estimation route of inspecting and calculating from current National Sample Survey data the percentage of persons not able to satisfy the nutrition norm in calories, the author finds that in 1999-2000 nearly half of the rural population who are actually poor have been excluded from the set of the officially poor. For 2004-05, while the official estimate of rural poverty is 28.3 per cent, the author's direct estimate of persons below the poverty line is 87 per cent. There is clear evidence of a large and growing divergence over time between the author's direct estimates of poverty and the official indirect estimates.

Neoliberalism and Rural Poverty in India


Economic and Political WeeklyJuly 28, 20073133appliedtothe population structure by age and gender. On average2400 and 2100 calories per day per capita worked out as therequired daily allowance (RDA) for energy intake, for rural andurban areas respectively, and all persons unable to access thisthrough their actually observed expenditure were to be consideredas poor.This measure using a nutrition norm is an absolute measureof poverty as distinct from the relative measures used in manyadvanced countries – such as considering all those to be poor,who have less than half the average per head income in theeconomy [Anand 1983, 1997; Subramanian 1997]. With a rela-tive measure of poverty, rise in inequality will imply rise inpoverty. The absolute poverty measure adopted in India howeverrequires stronger conditions for poverty to show a rise. Increasein the inequality of income and of expenditure could be quiteconsistent with poverty so defined, showing a decline. Only anabsolute decline in expenditure for substantial sections of thepopulation (not offset by rise for other sections), would lead toaverage poverty rising.The purpose of this paper is to explore why the povertyestimates by the Indian Planning Commission and many indi-vidual academics following the same method, show low levelsas well as decline in poverty over the 1990s, whereas all othereconomic and social indicators suggest that absolute poverty ishigh and there has been an adverse impact of neoliberal policieson poverty. For this purpose, we start by detailing the main contentof neoliberal economic policies guided by the Bretton WoodsInstitutions (BWI) as they have affected rural activities.IINeoliberalism as an Economic Policy PackageNeoliberalism entails a strongly expenditure deflating policypackage at the macroeconomic level, and India has been noexception. This proposition may seem strange since India hasseen 6 to 7 per cent annual gross domestic product (GDP) growthrates. The overall growth rate can be misleading however, forit tells us nothing about the sectoral composition of growth orits distributional effects. It is perfectly possible for the materialproductive sectors to stagnate or decline while services, includingfinancial services, are booming, and this has been the case withIndia’s growth in the 1990s. More rapid structural shifts in thesectoral contribution to GDP have taken place than in any previousperiod; the manufacturing sector’s share in GDP has stagnatedin the last 15 years while its contribution to employment hasdeclined. While the share of agricultural and allied activities inGDP has fallen sharply, the population dependent on this sectorhas declined little and faces falling per head real income.Agriculture is always a “soft” target for the misguided expen-diture deflating policies which continue to be urged by the BWI,no matter how high unemployment and hunger might be. Theimpact of deflationary policies has been especially severe in ruralareas which, already subject to declining public investment, sawsharp reduction in public planned development expenditures. Inrural development expenditures (RDE) I include the five planheads of (a) agriculture, (b) rural development, (c) irrigation andflood control, (d) special areas programmes, and (e) village andsmall-scale industry. All these expenditures are vital formaintaining rural productivity and employment. The employment-generation programmes had assumed special importance fromthe drought year 1987 onwards. During the pre-reform SeventhPlan period, 3.8 per cent of net national product (NNP) was spentannually on RDE, with well-documented positive effects inraising non-farm employment and rural wages. From 1991, ascontractionary Fund-guided policies started, the share ofRDEwas cut sharply to below 2.6 per cent of NNP by 1995-96and fell further to 1.9 per cent by 2000-01. Using implicit GDPdeflators, we find an absolute fall in real expenditure per headof rural population.Even though it was the agrarian crisis which led to the fallof the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition in the May2004 general elections, the assumption of power by the UnitedProgressive Alliance (UPA) government saw the deflationaryhammer being applied once more on agriculture with budgetestimates of RDE for fiscal 2004-05 being much lower than thatof preceding years, and with a cut by one-third in funding forthe employment generation schemes. The revised estimates for2004-05 show a slight rise in RDE to 2.3 per cent of NNP, farshort of the required doubling necessary to make an impact onrural depression. The simultaneous notifying of the FiscalResponsibility and Budgetary Management Act, 2004 under-scored the strongly deflationist stance of the new governmenteven in the face of rising unemployment.The gross fiscal deficitas a per cent of GDP has been brought down from 6.1 in 2000-01to 4.1 by 2005-06; it was slated to be further lowered to 3.8 in2006-07 but has been actually lowered to 3.7.This harsh contractionary fiscal policy has had nothing to dowith any objective resource constraint – indeed with strongincome shifts towards the already well-to-do, tax receipts havebeen buoyant and the tax-GDP ratio has been rising – but hassimply reflected the government’s acceptance of the deflationarydogmas of financial interests and in particular of the BWI, whichadvise expenditure reduction no matter how high unemploymentmight be, and thereby greatly worsen the problems of unemploy-ment and income loss, since the expenditure cuts have multipliereffects in reducing incomes and employment further. Indeed,these expenditure – reduction prescriptions are based preciselyon the untenable premise of full employment, for without thispremise the pre-Keynesian proposition cannot be maintained thatthere is a fixed savings pool in the economy such that increasein public expenditure will “crowd out” private investment directlyor via a rise in the interest rate.These views have been extensively critiqued [Baker, Epsteinand Pollin 1998]. P Patnaik (2000) presented a critique of the“reduce the fiscal deficit” doctrine of the BWI and the theoreticalpremise of full employment on which it is based, and U Patnaik(2003) contained a discussion of the impact on the peasantry,of balanced-budget doctrines of the Great Depression years andthe present identical deflationary stance of the internationalfinancial institutions. I have elsewhere argued that thisrevenantpre-Keynesian theory represents the logical fallacy knownas the “converse fallacy of accident”, in which from a specificassumption (full employment) a general inference (expendituredeflation)is improperly drawn.1Total capital formation in agriculture continues to stagnate inreal terms, since sharply reducing public investment is not beingcompensated by rising private investment. There is no economicrationale for believing that “public investment crowds out privateinvestment”, which is the common deflationist argument forreducing the state’s role in rural development. Precisely thecontrary has been shown to hold for certain types of investmentessential for an irrigation-dependent agriculture like India’s.

185 180 175 170 165 160 155 150 145 140 135

178.8 181.6 176.8 177.7 164.1 177 174.3 174.2 163.2 153 -----

Per capita Output, Kg

Economic and Political WeeklyJuly 28, 20073135Expenditure trends from the thin-sample rounds of NSS con-firmed this analysis. The lowest 40 per cent of persons rankedby expenditure levels had absolutely lower per capita total realexpenditure by 2001-02 compared to 1995-96 while the next 40per cent had stagnant real expenditure [Sen and Himanshu 2004].In fact, the income situation is worse than expenditure becauseasset adjustments have been taking place to maintain consump-tion flow.The direct intake part of grain availability also declined in the1990s in all states except Kerala, West Bengal and rural Orissa.Gopalan (1992:191) has pointed out that “…. If the habitualcereal-legume dietaries of poor Asian population groups wereconsumed at levels adequate to meet the full caloric needs (andhere we are talking of caloric needs as conforming to presentinternational recommended mean levels of intake, and notof M-2SD levels),2 then protein needs would be automaticallymet”. The National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau had informedus that “the NNMB has consistently confirmed in successivesurveys that the main bottleneck in the dietaries of even thepoorest Indians is energy and not protein as was hitherto be-lieved… the data also indicate that the measurement of con-sumption of cereals can be used as a proxy for total energy intake.This observation is of considerable significance as it helps todetermine rapid, though approximate, estimates of energy intakeat the household level”3 (emphasis added). The “foodgrains” inthis paper comprise cereals plus pulses. It is this strong link whichenables us to say that the observed direct foodgrains intakedecline given the overall availability decline (which proves thatindirect intake is not compensating) means serious nutritionaldecline and rise in poverty, which controverts the official view.To sum up, macroeconomic policies of expenditure deflationis the key to understanding the agrarian depression, and theresulting loss of purchasing power or, in Keynesian terms, asevere squeeze on aggregate effective demand of the majorityof the population, the key to understanding why such abnormallevels of public foodgrains stocks of 64 million tonnes, 40 milliontonnes in excess of buffer norms, had built up by July 2002. Thesestocks were coming out of more and more empty stomachs.The government and the majority of economists put forwarda totally incorrect analysis of the rising stocks and resulting fallingavailability. They closed their eyes to the declining purchasingpower brought about by public expenditure-deflating policies andinstead they put the blame on allegedly “too high” minimumsupport price (MSP) which they claimed gave the “wrong signals”to the farmers who therefore produced more than the marketrequired, and they advocated reduction of MSP. This fallaciousargument ignored the fact that foodgrains growth rates hadvirtually halved, and this should have led to compensating imports(to the tune of 21 million tonnes by 2001) had demand beenmaintained at the 1998 level. The freeze on procurement pricewhich followed, when input prices and credit costs have beenrising, generalised deflation further to more farmers and bothcompounded the problem of deficient demand and sent strongsignals for cutting back output. Rather than restoring lostpurchasing power and boosting aggregate demand by using upstocks for food-for-work programmes, the government exported22 million tonnes of grains at a highly subsidised price during2002 and 2003 [Bhalla 2005], which was mainly used as animalfeed abroad.With its obtuse attack on the viability of farmers, the govern-ment has succeeded in taking India back to stagnant foodgrainsoutput – the peak-to-peak growth rate during the six years after1998-99 has collapsed to zero. Nothing less than a colonial stylefamine will, it seems, satisfy those whose objective seems to beto turn Indian agriculture once more into a mere supply sourcefor advanced country supermarkets and for retail outlets servinglocal elites, at the expense of increasing hunger for millions ofits own citizens.IIIDivergence between Direct and OfficialIndirect Poverty EstimatesPoverty studies in India since the 1970s, have been based onthe use of a “poverty line” expenditure level, defined as thatparticular observed level of expenditure per capita per month onTable 1: Distribution of Persons by Monthly Per CapitaExpenditure (MPCE) Groups, Average Expenditure andAverage Calorie Intake per diem, 1999-2000, All-IndiaMonthlyAverageCaloriePer CentCumulativePer CapitaMPCEIntakeofPer Cent ofExpenditurePer DiemPersonsPersons(Rs)(Rs)Per Capita(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)____________________________________________________________________________________RuralBelow 22519113835.15.1225-25524216095.010.1255-300279173310.120.2300-340321186810.030.2340-380361195710.340.5380-42040020549.750.2420-470445217310.260.4470-52549722899.369.7525-615567240310.380.0615-77568625819.989.9775-95085127355.094.9950 and more134431785.099.9All486214999.9SummaryRs 470-525 and less; 2289 calories and less – 69.7 per centRs 525-615; 2403 calories – 10.3 per centRs 615-775 and more; 2581calories and more – 19.9 per centUrbanBelow 300255.813985.05.0300-350327.116545.110.1350-425389.117299.619.7425-500463.9191210.129.8500-575537.219689.939.7575-665618.6209110.049.7665-775718.7218710.159.8775-915840.5229710.069.8915-11201009.7246710.079.81120-15001286.2253610.189.91500-19251692.227365.094.91925 and more3074.329385.099.9All854.9215699.9SummaryRs 500-575 and less; 1968 calories and less – 39.7 per centRs 575-665; 2091 calories – 10 per centRs 665-775 and more; 2187 calories and more – 50.2 per centSource:National Sample Survey Organisation (55th Round, 1999-2000)ReportNo 471, Nutritional Intake in India, see p 22 for averagecalorie intake and average MPCE by expenditure groups. ReportNo454, Household Consumer Expenditure in India – Key Results,seepp 17-20 for the distribution of persons and average MPCE byexpenditure groups. Distribution and average MPCE are the same forboth reports. 30-day recall throughout.
- - - -
Official PL Direct PL Official Direct
Economic and Political WeeklyJuly 28, 20073140as many as seven states it has already fallen to 1450 to 1720calories by the 55th round (Table 5), and single-digit povertylevels are being claimed for some, although in reality povertyis very high. By the 61st round for many states calorie intakeaccessible at official poverty lines will be between 1300 and 1400,over 1000 calories below RDA. Thus a completely differentmeasure entailing a different definition of “poverty” is beingused, compared to that adhered to theoretically. This definitionwill logically lead to further absurd claims of great “success”in poverty reduction when the official estimates for most statesin India reach single-digit levels as they will soon do. The realreason would be that the poverty line is far too low for anyoneexcept the poorest of the poor tribal people and some unfortunatedestitutes and beggars, to survive below it.The logically correct method of comparison is to count the poorbelow a temporally and spatially unchanged consumption norm,for then the same definition of poverty line is applied for suc-cessive estimates and for different states. A simple and trans-parent measure of changing poverty depth is to take lower-than-RDA energy cut-offs (say, 2100 and 1800 calories) and note thepercentage below these levels, keeping the levels unchanged overtime. I have applied this direct method to obtain the povertypercentages for all large sample rounds (all-India rural, Table2line 1) while Table 5 gives the state estimates for the 50th and55th rounds. We find that actual rural poverty is very high, ithas not declined but on the contrary has risen in 10 out of 15states, and the depth of poverty has increased during the 1990sin nine states.Many authorshave pointed out that the estimation basis forthe initial official poverty lines was itself opaque. The relevantnutritional data for 1973-74 were never published and theestimatewas based on a limited nine-month sample [Mehta andVenkatraman 2000; Rath 2003]. Plotting the NSS data for 1970-71, for which calorie intakes were derived in R Nayyar (1991),we find that 72 per cent and 54 per cent of the population wasbelow 2400 and 2200 calories. This suggests that the official1973-74 estimate of 56.4 per cent in poverty is not of the rightorder of magnitude to correspond to the official norm of 2400calories RDA. The period 1970-71 to 1973-74 was of rapid foodprice inflation which gave rise to widespread unrest and to theprice rise resistance movement led by Jaiprakash Narayan.Inflation did not moderate until the draconian laws of theEmergency period. It is impossible that using the 2400 norm thepoverty percentage could have declined to such a large extentover a mere three years of rapid inflation, from 72 per cent in1970-71 to 56 per cent by 1973-74.The official 56.4 per cent figure for 1973-74 is howeverentirely consistent with a 2200 calorie norm. Our hypothesisis that theinitial official estimate itself was fudged, perhapsbecause 72 per cent or more of the population in poverty yieldedby the RDA, appeared far too “alarming”. This would explainthe non-transparency– probably quite deliberate – of thebasis of the estimate, that other writers have noted. Anotherquick check: in 1970-71, the expenditure enabling a rural personto access 2400 calories was Rs 40, and since the CPIAL roseby 40 per cent it should have been Rs 56 at least by 1973-74and not Rs 49, the official figure. The same argument appliesto the urban poverty line, which should have been higherthanstated.Table 2, line 9, gives the price-index adjusted poverty linesappropriate for a 2400 calorie norm in the base year which costRs 56, and line 10 gives the derived poverty percentages. Thedifference by 2004-05 is quite large – the poverty line shouldhave been Rs 414 and the poverty percentage 41.5 and not 29.5,even using the faulty official method, if the RDA had beenactually applied in the base year.IVCumulatively Increasing Underestimationover TimeIf the official procedure has always led to spurious povertyreduction, why has the extent of such reduction been much greaterin more recent years during the 1990s, compared to earlierdecades? From Table 2, during the decade 1973 to 1983 therewas a decline by about 10 points from 56 to 46; over the nextdecade to 1993-94 there was a decline by 9 points to 37, butover a mere six years from 1993-94 to 1999-2000, the declinewas by 10 points to 27. It is the large decline by 10 points overonly six years in the 1990s, which made people sit up and takenotice of poverty estimates. Urban official poverty percentagestoo are lower by a massive 15 points during the dozen years 1987-88 to 1999-2000 compared to much smaller official declines inthe 15 years preceding 1987-88.We get the answer to larger spurious declines over time, if weremember, first that the distribution of persons by expenditureis skewed, with two-thirds spending less than the mean expen-diture in both rural and urban India (which is reflected both inthe slope of the ogives and the non-linear relation of calorieintake to spending). Both curves rise steeply as we go fromvery low tomedium levels of MPCE, then rise less steeply andthereafter level off at high spending levels. Second, the officialmethod has been underestimating the poverty line in six separateand sequential five-yearly episodes of price adjustment over 31years, resulting in a cumulative large deficit from the true povertyline. The initial official poverty lines in the 1970s were not toodistant from the correct poverty lines required to access thenutrition norm, but became cumulatively distant from the truepoverty line over time, intersecting the ogive at its lower andincreasingly steeper segments, and this led to larger spuriouspoverty decline.To illustrate: looking at the slope of the 1999-2000 ruralogive in Chart 2a at the correct poverty line of Rs 565 at which2400 calories could be accessed, Rs 50, say, of underestimationof the poverty line or PL from this point to Rs 515 reducesthe poverty percentage only by 5 to 6 points. But at an officialPL of say, Rs 450 which is already substantially lower thanthe true one, (the actual case by the late 1980s) Rs 50underestimation toRs400, leads to a 10 to11 points declinein the percentage of persons below this line given the steepersegment of the curve.If the official PL is already at a severely underestimated levelof Rs 380, an additional Rs 50 decline to Rs 330 (actually theofficial PL for 1999-2000), leads to a massive 15 points declinein poverty, because we are almost at the extreme left hand endof the distribution by now where the ogive is steepest. Thereis a sharper drop in the percentage of people still surviving atsuch low expenditure and calorie intake levels.This argument using a single ogive to talk of change over time,of course assumes that the ogives when drawn in terms of realexpenditure are not shifting over time. But even if conditionsare actually getting worse, the real ogives are shifting leftwards
Economic and Political WeeklyJuly 28, 20073141and actual poverty is rising, provided these leftward shifts arestill small, clearly we would still get an overall net declineinofficial poverty percentages every five years owing to thecumulatively larger underestimation bias in the latter’s povertylines. This is what we do observe up to the 55th round, 1999-2000. The real ogives have been shifting leftwards and actualpoverty has been rising slowly since 1977-78 to 1999-2000(Chart4c), but the cumulatively larger underestimation bias inthe official poverty lines has led to the actual rise being morethan outweighed, and to a greater extent each time, thus showingup as spurious poverty decline.The official poverty line for 2004-05 is Rs 356 and the povertyratio is 28.3. The official poverty percentage has not ceased tobe spurious; that it does not show a further large decline as earlier,I would argue is because there has been a very much largerleftward shift than ever before, in the rural ogive during the fiveyears after 2000, as agrarian depression has intensified and realincome decline (owing to unemployment) has become morepervasive, engulfing larger groups of people – an adverse shiftso large, that it has neutralised the built-in large underestimationbias in the official procedure.This is supported by the nutrition data which have been recentlyreleased. The direct estimate of the poverty line required to access2400 calories in 2004-05 is Rs 795 and an all-time record high,87per cent of the population is below this level (see Appendixtables).VInitial Findings from the 61st Round, 2004-05The proposition that (a) there has been a substantial worseningof income distribution, and (b) that the worsening has been ofa particular type, namely, absolute real decline in rural incomes,is consistent with the 61st round expenditure data. The CPIALdoes not capture change in the cost of living adequately, so weuse the rural direct poverty lines for the 2200 calories level (thebase year actual nutrition norm in official estimates) from the50th and 61st rounds to construct an index. The poverty linesare Rs 260 and Rs 575, rising by 121 per cent, compared to therise by 76 per cent in CPIAL. The interpretation is as follows– unchanged real expenditure using this index means that nu-tritional access is preserved at the same specified level as before,without assuming a constant consumption basket or unchangedeconomic environment.The entire rural population except the top 5 per cent, showslower real expenditure in 2004-05 when we adjust by this indexand compare with 1993-94 (Table 3). The bottom 80 per centof persons needed to spend 14 per cent more than they actuallycould, to maintain the same real spending as a decade earlier.Adjusting the 1993-94 expenditure on food upwards by the indexshows that average actual expenditure in 2004-05 was lower thanadjusted expenditure for all groups. Average expenditure neededto be higher by about one-quarter from actual; even the top groupspent less than required and the unfavourable gap was relativelymore for some of the poorer spending groups. The observedaverage decline over time in the share of food expenditure intotal expenditure, in such a specific context where per capita realexpenditure although initially at low levels declines further overtime, represents a case Ernst Engel did not explore and indicatesexactly the opposite of betterment. It is not surprising that it isaccompanied by decline in calorie intake and rise in poverty.5The actual decline of incomes has been greater than that ofexpenditure, as the Situation Assessment Survey of Farmers bythe NSS show. Table 4 summarises the striking results at theall-India level, of consumption and net investment expendituresrelative to income from all sources. For over 96 per cent offarming households total income from all sources did not coverconsumption expenditure and led to deficit. In many states deficitswere financed through asset depletion by the majority whoreported negative investment (see Tables A-178 to A-192 ofReport 497) and for all-India, net investment per household onproductive assets was a paltry Rs 124 per month. Admittedly2002-03 was a drought year but even if we arbitrarily reducethese numbers by 20 per cent for a normal year, over 75 per centof all farming households would still be in deficit.The realistic poverty line in 2003 would be about Rs 610 permonth per head (adjusting the 1999-2000 direct poverty line ofRs 565 for price change) and given the average family size of5 members, Rs 3,050 per month is the minimum realistic povertyline per household. Some 80 per cent of all households in Table4spent less than this on consumption and still evidently had tofinance it through borrowing or asset depletion to the extent ofthe shortfall of income.Further, the Land and Livestock Surveys of the NSS for 1992and 2003 (Reports 408 and 493) show a large rise from 22 to32 per cent of households with nil operated land. In AndhraPradesh households with nil operational holdings rose fromTable 4: All-India Rural Monthly Expenditure from All Sources, Consumption Expenditure and Investmentin Productive Assets (Rs), 2002-03AreaNetIncome ReceiptsPossessedWagesCultivationAnimalNFBTotalConsumptionBalanceInvestmentSurplus/Per CentCumulativeHaIncomeFarmingin ProductiveDeficitof Per CentAssetsHHof HH12345678 = (6–7)910 (8-9)1112< 0.011075116423013802297-91740-95711.611.60.01 – 0.49732969427016332390-75737-79434.045.60.04 – 1.072078411219318092672-86396-95927.673.21.0 – 2.0635157810217824933148-655151-80615.188.32.0 – 4.063726855721035893685-96387-4837.996.24.0 – 10.04864676125075681462610556853703.399.5> 10.0557832111367696676418324973725120.5100.0ALL8199699123621152770-655124-779100Notes:Column 8 is (Col 6-Col 7) and Column10 is [Col 6 – (col 7 + col 9)] and these have been calculated by the author. Note that only the top 3.8 per centof all households earned enough to meet consumption expenditure.Source:59th Round, NSS Report No 497, Income, Expenditure and Productive Assets of Farmer Households,Table A-192.
Economic and Political WeeklyJuly 28, 2007314237to53 per cent of all rural households, in Tamil Nadu from36 to 67 per cent, and in Kerala from 6 to 38.6 per cent. Thenil holdings percentage in operational holdings has doubled inHaryana, Bihar and West Bengal, all from around 14-15 per centto 28-30 per cent. Effectively much of the gains of past landreforms have been reversed by the impact of state expendituredeflation and market-oriented reforms in unleashing rural depres-sion and impoverishment, forcing poor and small peasant ownersto part with livestock and land.VIThe Fallacy of EquivocationThe official and individual estimators follow the procedure ofthe 1993 ‘Report of the Expert Group on Estimation of Proportionand Number of Poor’. This had made two main recommendations– first, a long-overdue one, that the earlier practice should bediscontinued, of blowing up the NSS fractile-specific consump-tion figures by using the ratio of the aggregate CSO consumptionestimate to the NSS consumption estimate. It had also recom-mended that state-specific price indices should be used toestimate the state poverty lines. But, unfortunately, the ExpertGroup did not consider departing from the indirect method ofprice-adjustment in favour of the direct method for all previousestimates, nor did it bring the base year for the consumptionbasket, forward to 1993-94 as it could have done. This wouldhave meant, taking RDA of 2400 calories, a rural poverty linefor 1993-94 of Rs 325 and not Rs 206, and would have givena price adjusted poverty line by 1999-2000 of Rs 517, belowwhich 68 per cent of the rural population is observed to fall.While an underestimate it would not have been so grossly offthe mark as current official estimates are. The Expert Grouphowever recommended continuing with the same method of priceadjustment to a by then two-decade old consumption basket.It is still not clear why so many academics in universities shouldhave uncritically followed the Expert Group and treated a merereport as the Vedas and the Upanishads, ignoring all criticalvoices. The poverty lines calculated according to the ExpertGroup method, continued to be de-linked from the necessity ofsatisfying any nutrition norm at all. This de facto deviation fromthe original definition of poverty has had far-reaching method-ological implications, which have not been fully appreciated bythe academic community. As we have seen, it renders logicallyinvalid every attempt to compare the extent of poverty, bothacross states at a given point of time as well as over time bothfor individual states and at the all-India level. The precise typeof logical fallacy involved is the fallacy of equivocation.The fallacy of equivocation is a specific type of verbal fallacy,in which the same term is improperly used with two differentmeanings in the course of the argument to draw the inference,which therefore is not true. Modern books on logic followAristotle’s classification of fallacies (Aristotle’s De SophisticisElenchis or ‘Of Sophistical Refutations’) supplemented by recentanalysis [Barnes 1984; Hamblin 1970; Thouless 1974].We can construct an example of the fallacy of equivocationas follows: “The professor has been delivering her address forone hour to the gathering of students. Therefore every studentknows exactly where she lives.”The term “address” is being usedin two quite different senses in the premise and in the conclusion– “address “ in the sense of speech, and “address” in the senseof place of habitation. There is equivocal use of the term, so theinference “every student knows exactly where she lives” is nottrue. But fallacies of equivocation in economics are more difficultto spot. Intelligent non-specialists do not scrutinise argumentsby economists carefully, nor do fellow economists not hithertoworking in that particular area, because they trust the specialistsat the intellectual level.6 They take it for granted that terms whichexpress concepts, must be correctly used by these trained pro-fessional scholars. This is a reasonable expectation but unfor-tunately it is by no means always realised, as the official methodand the uncritical use of the same method by individual econo-mists following the 1993 Expert Group report, shows.The official poverty estimation method discussed in the pre-vious sections provides an excellent example of the fallacy ofequivocation. The issue turns on declaring a particular conceptand definition of the term “poverty line expenditure” and applyingit in a particular year, but then using a completely differentdefinition of“poverty line expenditure”, and improperly drawingthe inference that “poverty” has declined. The fallacy of equivo-cation thus arises because the term “poverty line” is used in twodifferent senses in the course of the same argument, so theinference about change in poverty, is not true. The fallacy hasbeen committed by the Planning Commission in India since1973-74, by the 1993 Expert Group which recommendedcontinuingwith the same fallacious method, and by a numberof individual economists uncritically following the fallaciousprocedure advised by the 1993 Expert Group.Some academics try to rescue their erring peers in an empiricistmanner, by saying that the de facto nutrition norm has beenlowered a bit from the de jure one, and it is not such an importantmatter to make a fuss about. They point out that bodies like theUN Food and Agriculture Organisation have been suggesting oflate, lower figures of 2110 calories for south Asia and an evenlower level of 1810 for India as a minimum. It is indeed a factthat having signally failed to reduce poverty itself, all inter-national bodies which talk of poverty reduction are lowering thenutrition norms instead or applying purchasing power adjustmentto deflate the dollar a day poverty lines, thereby sanitising theirglobal poverty estimates to lower and less embarrassing ones.But such empiricist rescue efforts simply carry no conviction whenwe see what abandoning the nutrition norm has done to officialpoverty lines and hence poverty estimates in India: theyhave beenreduced to conceptual garbage as Table 5 demonstrates.No international body has said, or can dare to say that 1400to 1600 calories are acceptable nutrition norms for developingcountries (the average intake in advanced countries is around3,000 calories). Not even P V Sukhatme, a most vigorous cam-paigner for a below 2400 calories norm, would have agreed thata 1700 calories or less daily intake per capita for any population,was reasonable – he used a 2200 calories norm in one of hisown estimates [Sukhatme 1971]. Sub-human to very low energyintake levels of 1450 to1700 calories however, by 1999-2000are associated with the official poverty lines for many states(Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu), while Punjaband Haryana are very close with 1720 calories or less beingaccessible at their official poverty lines.There is a debate among the academics following the officialindirect method, that owing to change in the recall period duringthe 55th round, 1999-2000 compared to earlier rounds, actualexpenditure is overstated. Making the required adjustment forcomparability alters the ogive slightly and raises the 27 per centbelow the Rs 328 official poverty line, by another 1 per cent
Economic and Political WeeklyJuly 28, 20073143Table 5: Planning Commission Poverty Estimates by States and Calorie Intake at Official Poverty Lines Compared to DirectPoverty EstimatesIndirect Official EstimateDirect Estimate1993-941999-2000 1993-941999-20001993-941999-2000OfficialCalorieOfficialCalorie <2400< 2400< 2100< 2100PovertyIntakePovertyIntakeCaloriesCaloriesCaloriesCaloriesat PLat PLat PLat PLPovertyPovertyPovertyPoverty(Per Cent)(Per Cent)(Per Cent)(Per Cent)(Per Cent)(Per Cent)12345678All-India37198027.418907574.549.249.5EastAssam45.0193540.0179093916271.0Bihar58.2215044.3201073785153.5Orissa49.7223048.02120707942.545.5West Bengal40.8208031.91900728142.555.0SouthAndhra Pradesh15.9165011.1159084845662.0Karnataka29.9181517.3160075.582.55750.0Kerala25.816259.414408482.56460.0Tamil Nadu32.5165020.61510879577.576.0West-centralGujarat22.2166013.2168083.585.06468.5Madhya Pradesh40.6201037.1185072.57847.557.5MahaRashtra37.9182023.7176089.5927555.0Rajasthan26.5210013.719254652.526.527.5NorthPunjab12.018256.4171052.558.53036.5Haryana28.019908.317205547.53430.5Uttar Pradesh48.3223031.2204065.561.538.537.5Notes:Figures in brackets for all-India indicate rough adjustment for recall-period change; no adjustment is shown for the states.Source:As Table 1 and NSS Report Nos 401,402,405.according to Sundaram and Tendulkar (2003), and by 3 per centaccording to Deaton (2003a). The NSS report however says thatthe 50th and 61st rounds are comparable using uniform 30 dayrecall in both while the 55th round is not comparable at all withthe50th one but is comparable with the 61st round mixed recall. Nodoubt there will be yet another recondite debate on comparability.The lack of comparability arising from alteration in the recallperiod, however, is of relatively small importance, compared tothe fundamental problem of lack of comparability arising fromthe unstated alteration in the consumption standard inherent inthe indirect method all these estimators uncritically use. The mainanalytical point being made in this paper focuses on this mistakewhich leaves out half the rural population which is actually poor,and this basic problem with all indirect estimates remains whateveradjustments might be made for recall period.VIIReduction in Nutrition Accessible at PovertyLines in Many StatesThe public is never informed, when poverty estimates arequoted, of the dilution of the energy intake norm leading tospurious estimates and claims of poverty reduction. Large thoughthe dilution is, it does not prepare us for the truly heroic reductionof the consumption level accessible at official poverty lines inmany states, owing to the extremely low state-specific povertylines being applied.How do we obtain the calorie intakes at the official state povertylines? The basic data are available in the same format for eachindividual state as the all-India data in Table 1 for each largesample round barring one. By plotting for each state the sametwo curves – the ogive and the relation between average per capitaexpenditure and average per capita calorie intake, we can obtainthe energy intake accessible at the official state poverty lines.In all I have plotted 135 relations – graphs containing the tworelations for each of the 15 large states for the four large sampleyears after 1973-74, for which calorie data were available, andthe ogives for the 61st round, 2004-05.7It is our exercise with the state poverty estimates which bringout starkly, how the official method has led to a most bizarreand arbitrary variation of the calorie intake levels accessible atthe poverty lines. The range of variation in the 50th round, 1993-94 is from 1625 calories in Kerala to 2230 calories in Orissaand Uttar Pradesh, with the all-India figure standing at 1980calories. By the 55th round, there is further decline in the calorieintake at poverty lines in every state (except only Gujarat): therange now being from 1440 calories in Kerala to 2120 caloriesin Orissa with the all-India figure dropping further to 1890calories. All southern states have extremely low official povertylines, at which the calorie intakes were 1600 in Karnataka, 1590in Andhra Pradesh and 1510 in Tamil Nadu. Clearly the povertyestimate within any state is not comparable over time – exceptfor Gujarat, where although the official poverty lines and hencethe poverty percentages are far too low giving below 1700 caloriesintake in both the 50th and 55th rounds, there is no further declinein intake over the period.The official estimate of poverty for Orissa was 48 per cent,over four times higher than that for neighbouring Andhra Pradeshat only 11 per cent. But how can we possibly compare and inferthat Orissa was poorer than AP once we know that the officiallypoor in AP are all those persons consuming below 1590 calorieswhile the officially poor in Orissa are all those consuming below2120 calories? The directly measured poverty in Orissa was lowerthan in AP and poverty depth was also substantially less, thoseaccessing below 2100 calories being 46 per cent and 62 per centin Orissa and AP. Similarly the 13 per cent official poverty figurefor Gujarat cannot be compared with the 44 per cent for Biharand the former state said to be less poor, when we see that thecalorie intake accessible at its poverty line has been pushed downto 1680 in Gujarat compared to 2010 in Bihar. Actual poverty
Economic and Political WeeklyJuly 28, 20073144incidence in Bihar was less than in Gujarat and poverty depthwas also less as the last two columns show.Clearly, the official poverty estimates are not comparableacross states at any given point of time, and they are not com-parable across time in any state. They no longer make any sense.The deafening silence of all the other economists using thesame indirect method, on the declining nutritional intake nec-essarily associated with their own estimated state-wise povertylines, ignore the basic requirement of academic work that it mustfollow the principles of logic and of transparency. Academicwork cannot be treated in such a cavalier manner, where dataare used selectively, important information is suppressed, andthereby elementary logical principles that the world has knownfor 2,000 years, are openly flouted. The numbers these economistsare producing on Indian poverty at the Planning Commission andat the World Bank, are feeding directly into the making of policywhich affect the lives of millions of poor people. It is surelyincumbent on the concerned economists that they show a moreresponsible attitude to their own academic work. They can hardlyexpect to retain credibility if they continue to pretend that themethodological criticisms over the last decade do not exist. Inthe matter of logical mistakes, there is no strength to be derivedfrom collecting together in large numbers. The fact that not oneor two, but 20 or more economists are using a logically incorrectmethod, does not render the method a correct one. The fact that20economists and not one or two, are producing senseless numbersin the name of poverty estimates, simply becomes a sad commenton the falling standards of intellectual work not only in our ownuniversities but also in institutions abroad and at the World Bank.Already the false poverty estimates and spurious claims of declinehave played havoc with food security and increased hunger.Millions of very poor people have been priced out from the PDSby labelling them incorrectly as APL (above poverty line) andnowmoves are afoot to exclude the so-called APL completely fromthe PDS whose scope and operations are being run down. At somelevel simple common sense appears to have been abandoned bythe estimators. Since we are not talking of historical data, thecurrent cost of living should be known to them from their owndaily experience. It is strange that any economist can seriouslypropose that Rs 10 to 12 per day even in an Indian village todaycan meet one person’s expenditure on all food and non-foodrequirements, inclusive of the value of farm-produced output.In reality it would buy one kilogram of the cheapest rice onthe open market, and nothing else, or one litre of bottled drinkingwater. The official poverty line was lowest in Andhra Pradeshat Rs 263 per month or Rs 8.7 per day. Only 11 per cent of therural population was below this spending level, at which at most1590 calories was accessible. No doubt they belong to the poorestof the poor even among the tribal and dalit groups. We can wellimagine how much more adverse their morbidity and mortalityrates would be in relation to already adverse average rural levels.These unfortunate persons would be on their way to early death.Drastic lowering of the calorie intake associated with extremelylow poverty lines are necessarily also implied in the same pro-cedure followed by the individual academics. At Deaton’srecalculated monthly poverty line for Punjab of Rs 316.5 [Deaton2003b: 367, Table 5], we find from our charts that only 1480calories were accessible. No wonder only 2.7 per cent of Punjab’srural population in his estimate were “poor” since 1480 caloriesis a semi-starvation level, costing Rs 50 less than the very lowofficial poverty line giving 1710 calories.8 Yet some economistsare celebrating the alleged “disappearance” of poverty in ruralPunjab on the basis of such selective use of the NSS data, ignoringthe dimension of nutrition completely. The reality is that land-lessness has gone up in rural Punjab by nearly 10 per cent pointsbetween 1992 and 2003 (NSS Report 493), rural poverty had risento nearly three-fifths, and over 36 per cent were below 2100 caloriesintake compared to 30 per cent five years earlier. The spuriousofficial Indian poverty estimates are feeding into and renderingequally spurious the World Bank estimates both for India andwith respect to its global poverty line, whose estimation basishas been usefully explained by Reddy and Pogge (2005). Forthe year 2000, a uniform poverty line of $ 1.08 a day was derivedby the World Bank, by taking the existing lowest (hence rural)local currency official poverty lines of 10 poorest countries outof a set of 33 countries, “poorest” as identified after convertingtheir local currency monthly poverty lines to dollar and adjustingfor purchasing power by using the 1993 PPP conversion factorfor consumption. The Bank then took the median value of the10 values. This procedure gave Rs 7.51 per day for India at 1993PPP, and after updating this with a domestic price index andapplying to the distribution of persons by expenditure levels, 35.3per cent in rural India were stated to be “poor”.9 The impliedrupee poverty line is Rs 357 per month or Rs 11.9 per day.The argument that for international comparison, the alreadylow dollar a day poverty line should be adjusted downwards toonly one-quarter to one-fifth, according to the varying purchasingpower of developing country currencies, makes no economicsense. The unstated assumption has to be that this is a reasonabledaily poverty line for the US, but clearly it is not, for it would havebought at most either one bottle of water there, or 2.5 lbs of rice,just as the PPP adjusted $ 1.08 in India (which deflates its nominalrupee equivalent to about a quarter), could barely buy either asingle bottle of water, or at most 1.1 kg rice. Even the reverseadjustment to the one-dollar poverty line, namely taking a multipleaccording to purchasing power, would not give us anything buta travesty of a poverty line for the US. Thus, today, one US dollarwhen spent within India buys exactly as much as Rs 44.5 does(which is nearly four times the official poverty line). While thepurchasing power of one US dollar is about a quarter in the US,surely it is not the case that $ 4 per day, or less than $ 1,500per year, would be a reasonable per capita poverty line for theUS. How can it be maintained that one-sixteenth of this levelor 25 cents is an adequate poverty line for India? Of course, theproblem has arisen precisely because the $ 1 a-day (or, at present,the $ 1.08 a day) measure itself is derived from the unrealisticallylow national official poverty lines of developing countries. Eventhe higher of China’s two rural poverty lines, 800 yuan per yearor 2.2 yuan per day, is absurdly low and is equivalent to Rs 11,exactly the same as India’s poverty line, at the prevailing ex-change rate. China’s official rural poverty figures too are grossunderestimates, for with relentless market reforms and usercharges such a paltry sum spells destitution.VIIIStatewise Variations and Trends in ActuallyExisting PovertyPoverty is officially underestimated to the greatest extent insouth India with 800 to 1000 calories per diem deficit from RDAin every state. Although Andhra Pradesh had 84 per cent of ruralpopulation in poverty during both 1993-94 and 1999-2000, its


Economic and Political WeeklyJuly 28, 20073147does not put Bihar towards the bottom, the nutrition norm shouldnot be applied. Those who put forward or defend this gem ofillogicality merely expose their preconceptions regarding Biharand ignore research showing substantial rural real wage rise inmany districts in the pre-reform phase, in which out-migrationhad a role to play.Another common argument defending the wrong idea thatfalling calorie intake is voluntary, is that there has beenmechanisation in agriculture and the energy intake needs of rurallabourers has reduced. One can scarcely find a clearer exampleof apologetics than this argument which involves a double nonsequitur. First, the argument assumes that rural labourers wereadequately fed before mechanisation and there is scope forreducing intake, which is not the case; second, it assumes thatwith mechanisation human energy intake necessarily goes down,while the converse is observed to be the case everywhere. Evenif we consider Asia alone, the highest levels of energy intakeof rural workers are in the most agriculturally mechanised countrieslike Japan, Korea and China which have seen rising nutritionalstandards of rural workers as their incomes rise, which is as itshould be since the aim of raising labour productivity throughmechanisation is precisely to improve the lot of people.IXInability of Official Poverty Lines to CaptureActual Cost of LivingIn constructing the consumer price index for agriculturallabourers, zero or negligible weight is given to many items ofspending which are in practice unavoidably important for evenpoorer workers such as transport to site of work, coping withill-health, and basic utilities. Altering the weighting diagram ofthe CPIAL to take realistic account of these items would certainlyhelp a bit, but not all that much. In my judgment the moreimportant problem is the arbitrary procedure of applying the givenprice-index to a fixed consumption basket which goes back asfar as 34 years. However well constructed the price index itselfmight be, taking such a distant fixed basket cannot but ignoreimportant and mainly non-reversible structural changes takingplace in the economy over time, which are responsible for alteringthe choices faced by consumers such that the actual consumptionbasket is altered and there is necessarily a much higher cost todayof accessing the minimum energy intake.The changes in the economy which have altered the set ofchoices consumers face, fall into two categories: First,long-termstructural changes since the 1960s which are mainly irreversible,and second,changes under neo-liberal reforms over the last 15years which are in principle reversible. The long-term changeshave been extensively discussed but ignored by the officialestimators. M H Suryanarayana (1996) in a detailed discussionof the concepts and methods used for estimating expenditure bythe NSS, had pointed out that the economic environment forlabourers and poorer farmers was changing in a manner not fullycaptured by price indices. Over the previous three decades therehad been substantial monetisation of the rural economy. Wagespaid in kind as grain or meals, valued at low prices in NSS rounds,were now paid in cash which the labourer had to exchange forfood at higher retail prices embodying lower quantities. Commonproperty and gleaning rights were disappearing. This renderedofficial poverty lines of dubious value, and he had advocatedusing direct quantitative indices for measuring poverty.Mehta and Venkatraman (2000) had drawn attention to the factthat crop-straw, fuel-wood and fodder which was earlier gleaned,gathered or accessed as common property (only partly valuedin the NSS, or valued at low farm gate prices), now had to bepurchased at retail rates. Food and cooking fuels are jointlydemanded since no one can eat raw food, and with a real incomewhich is constant or declining, a part of food expenditure hasto be enforcedly reduced to buy fuel. They had established thatthe rising non-food monetised expenditure on utilities (fuels,transport, health) meant that food expenditure in real terms wasforced down to a lower level by 1993-94. The present authortoo had drawn attention in a brief but sharply worded mannerto the futility of using the consumption basket of 1973-74 toestimate current poverty [Patnaik 2004].At the 1993-94 official poverty line, 6 per cent of spendingwas on “fuel and light” and 13.1 per cent was on miscellaneousgoods and services (medical services, transport, education andrent) adding up to 19.1 per cent. By 2004-05 for the officialpoverty line expenditure class, the fuel and light share at 10.2and the miscellaneous goods and services share at 23.4 per centadded up to 33.6 per cent of spending. Since real spending hasbeen stagnant over 1993-94 to 2004-05 for four-fifths of all persons,a higher share spent on these items entails not just a lower foodshare but absolute decline in spending on food. Only Rs 221.8per month per head or Rs 7.4 per day, could be spent on foodin 2004-05. This is Rs 126 at 1993-94 prices, less than the Rs 143actually spent on food at the official poverty line of 1993-94.Second, the more recent changes affecting poverty are theoutcome of the deflationary policies discussed in the first sectionof this paper, which are in principle all reversible. Large cutsin development expenditures reduced the level of rural activityand raised unemployment. Rising input and credit costs combinedwith stagnant or falling output prices, or an adverse price scissorsfurther reduced incomes. Mass demand deflation in turn led toa drastic lowering of the inflation rate by the end-1990s, andeven in the severe drought year 2002-03, agricultural priceshardly rose since distress sales ensured easy market supplies, andwith lower output demand was further compressed. The rise inthe official poverty line which entirely reflects the rise in theCPIAL, was 60 per cent between 1993-94 and 1999-2000 butwas below 11 per cent between 1999-2000 and 2004-05. Neo-liberal deflation squeezed aggregate demand so severely that iteventually resulted in price deflation in agriculture. This set offactors has led to a downward shift in the demand curve fornecessities for a majority of the rural population.The recent moderate revival of inflation during 2006-07 ispartly cost-push owing to rising imported oil prices, but is mainlyshortage-induced owing to the collapse of grain output growthin the last few years, brought about by the sustained decade-longstate attack on farmers’ viability. Lower inflation during 2000to 2005 should have benefited rural net food purchasers ifeverything else was the same, but because it was the result ofexpenditure deflation-induced depression, any benefit wasswamped out by unemployment rising faster and earningsdecliningmore rapidly than the inflation rate was decelerating,pushing more people into poverty.The remedy is simple – a strongly expansionary fiscal policyand genuine commitment to implementing the NREG Act byfunding it properly, supported by large-scale revival offoodgrains and other crops procurement at realistic prices; andscrapping the iniquitous and senseless APL-BPL divide, would
0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500

0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 MPCE, Rs Calorie Intake

Economic and Political WeeklyJuly 28, 200731501‘The Nature of Fallacies in Economic Theory’, Satyendranath Sen Lecturedelivered at the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, August 11, 2004.2Gopalan is referring to P V Sukhatme’s argument, which he had earlierrefuted [Gopalan 1983] that mean energy requirement level minus twostandard deviations should be considered for poor populations.3National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, 25 Years of NNMB, Delhi,1997.4Note that since the highest expenditure class is open-ended for rural andurban India, the last point of the relevant ogives have not been shown.Assuming that the given average expenditure is the mid-point of theexpenditure class in each case, we get Rs 1,738 and Rs 4,223.6 as theestimated upper end values for rural and urban expenditure. The readercan visualise the ogives approaching 100 at these values.5Most economists incorrectly interpret a necessary condition as a sufficientone. Rising real income does imply a falling share of food expenditurein total expenditure but the converse is not true. A falling share of foodexpenditure in total expenditure does not imply rising income and isconsistent with falling income.6I repudiate the views I expressed on poverty in my papers written before2004 where I uncritically reproduced Planning Commission and WorldBank estimates. I was not then aware of the fatally flawed methodologyused, and only contradiction of the claims of these bodies with deepeningagrarian distress, led me to look closely at the official procedure.7Any inaccuracies in plotting and reading the graphs are mine, but themistakes if any are likely to be small, 10 calories at most.8For many other states like Andhra Pradesh, Deaton’s recalculated povertylines give higher estimates than the Planning Commission ones but areof course still far below the correct estimates applying the nutrition norm.9See Reddy and Pogge (2005); World Development Report, 2006, TableA1on p 278, cols 9 and 10.10Ramanand Ram (2004).ReferencesAnand, S (1997): ‘The Measurement of Income Inequality’ in S Subramanian(ed), Measurement of Inequality and Poverty, Oxford University Press,Delhi.Aristotle (undated): De Sophisticis Elenchis (Of Sophistical Refutations,from Organon), Vol 1 in Barnes (ed), Collected Works of Aristotle.Baker, D, G Epstein and R Pollin (1998): Globalisation and ProgressiveEconomic Policy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Barnes, J (1984): Collected Works of Aristotle, Vols 1 and 11, PrincetonUniversity Press, Princeton.Bhalla, G S (2005): ‘The Challenge of Food Security in India’, TyagiMemorial Lecture, July.Coondoo, D, A Majumdar, G Lancaster and R Ray (2004): ‘AlternativeApproaches to Measuring Temporal Changes in Poverty with Applicationto India’, Working Paper, December.Cornia, G A, R Jolly and F Stewart (eds) (1987): Adjustment with a HumanFace, Vol 1, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Dandekar, V M and N Rath (1971): Poverty in India, Indian School ofPolitical Economy, Pune.Datt, G, V Kozel and M Ravallion (2003): ‘A Model Based Assessmentof India’s Progress in Reducing Poverty in the 1990s’, Economic andPolitical Weekly, January 25, pp 355-61.Deaton, A (2003a): ‘Adjusted Indian Poverty Estimates for 1999-2000’,EPW, Vol 38, January 25-31.– (2003b): ‘Prices and Poverty 1987-2000’, Economic and Political Weekly,Vol 38, January 25.Deaton, A and V Kozel (eds) (2005): The Great Indian Poverty Debate,Macmillan India, New Delhi.Economic and Political Weekly (2003): Special Issue titled ‘Poverty Reductionin the 1990s’, Vol 38, January 25.Gopalan, C (1992): ‘Undernutrition: Measurement and Implications’ inSOsmani (ed), Nutrition and Poverty, Clarendon Press, Oxford. Alsoreproduced in S Subramanian (ed) (1997), Measurement of Inequalityand Poverty, Oxford University Press, Delhi.– (1983): ‘Measurement of Undernutrition: Biological Considerations’,Nutrition Foundation of India Bulletin, 4.Government of India, Ministry of Finance (various years): Economic Survey,(annually released in February each year) for the years 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06.Hamblin, C L (1970): Fallacies, Methuen, London.Mahendra Dev, S and C Ravi (2007): ‘Poverty and Inequality for All-Indiaand Major States, 1983 to 2004-05’, Economic and Political Weekly,February 15.Meenakshi, J V and B Viswanathan (2003): ‘Calorie Deprivation in RuralIndia’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 38, January 25.Mehta, J and Venkataraman (2000): ‘Poverty Statistics – Bermicide’s Feast’,Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 35, July 1.National Sample Survey Organisation:Report No 408, Livestock and Implements in Household OperationalHoldings, 1991-92.Report No 493, Livestock Ownership across Operational LandholdingClasses in India, 2002-03.Report No 401, Key Results on Household Consumer Expenditure,1993-94.Report No 402, Level and Pattern of Consumer Expenditure, 1993-94.Report No 405, Nutritional Intake in India, 1993-94.Report No 457, Level and Pattern of Consumer Expenditure inIndia, 1999-2000.Report No 471, Nutritional Intake in India, 1999-2000.Report No 497, Income, Expenditure and Productive Assets of FarmerHouseholds, 2003.Report No 504, Household Capital Expenditure in India during 1.7.2002to 30.6.2003.Report No508, Level and Pattern of Consumer Expenditure, 2004-05.Report No 515, Part 1 and 11, Employment and Unemployment Situationin India 2004-05, available on www.mospi.nic.inNayyar, R (1991): Rural Poverty in India, Oxford University Press, Delhi.Patnaik, P (2000): ‘The Humbug of Finance’, Chintan Memorial Lecture,January 8, 2000, available on, and in P Patnaik(2003), The Retreat to Unfreedom, Tulika, Delhi.Patnaik, U (2003): ‘Global Capitalism, Deflation and Agrarian Crisis inDeveloping Countries’, Social Policy and Development Programme,Paper Number 13, United Nations Research Institute for SocialDevelopment (UNRISD) October.– (2003a): ‘Food Stocks and Hunger – Causes of Agrarian Distress’, SocialScientist, Vol 31, Nos 7-8, July-August.– (2004): ‘The Republic of Hunger’, Social Scientist, Vol 32, Nos 9-10,September-October.– (2005): ‘Theorising Food Security and Poverty in the Era of Neo-liberalReforms’, Social Scientist, Vol 33, Nos 7-8, July-August.Ram, Ramanand (2004): ‘Poverty Estimates in India: A Critical Appraisal’,MPhil Dissertation submitted to Jawaharlal Nehru University, July.Rath, S (2003): ‘Poverty by Price Indices’, Economic and Political Weekly,October 4, Vol 38, No 40.Ray, R and G Lancaster (2005): ‘On Setting the Poverty Line Based onEstimated Nutrient Prices: Condition of Socially Disadvantaged Groupsduring the Reform Period’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol XL,No 1, January 1.Reddy, S G and T W Pogge (2005): How Not to Count the Poor,www.socialanalysis.orgSen, A (2000): ‘Estimates of Consumer Expenditure and Its Distribution:Statistical Priorities after the NSS 55th Round’, Economic and PoliticalWeekly, December 16.Sen, A and Himanshu (2004): ‘Poverty and Inequality in India: WideningDisparities during the 1990s’, Economic and Political Weekly,September25.Subramanian, S (1997): ‘Introduction’ in S Subramanian (ed), Measurementof Inequality and Poverty, Oxford University Press, Delhi.– (2005): ‘Unravelling a Conceptual Muddle – India’s Poverty Statisticsin the Light of Basic Demand Theory’, Economic and Political Weekly,Vol XL, No 1, January 1-7.Sukhatme, P V (1977): ‘Incidence of Undernutrition’, Indian Journal ofAgricultural Economics, July-September.Sundaram, K and S D Tendulkar (2003): ‘Poverty Has Declined in the 1990s– A Resolution of Comparability Problems in NSS Consumer ExpenditureData’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol XL, No 1, January 1-7.Suryanarayana, M H (1996): ‘Poverty Estimates and Indicators:Importanceof Data Base’, Economic and Political Weekly, Nos 35-37, September.Swaminathan, M (1999): Weakening Welfare: The Public Provisioning ofFood in India, Leftword Books, Delhi.– (2002): ‘Excluding the Needy – The Public Provisioning of Food in India’,Social Scientist, Vol 30, Nos 3-4, March-April.Thouless, R F (1974): Straight and Crooked Thinking, Pan Books.World Bank (2006): World Development Report, World Bank and OxfordUniversity Press, New York.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top