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Poverty Alleviation Programmes In Rural India: An Assessment


  • Raghav Gaiha


ABSTRACT The Planning Commission estimated a sharp reduction of poverty during the early 1980s, which it attributed largely to the poverty alleviation strategy followed during the Sixth Plan. Specifically, it was claimed that the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) was responsible for a substantial reduction in rural poverty. This claim is critically evaluated here. Drawing upon the results of an applied general equilibrium model, selected anti‐poverty interventions are compared from a macro perspective. Noting the incentive and information‐related problems, some key issues in designing anti‐poverty interventions are addressed. Section I reviews changes in rural poverty at the all‐India level. Section II explores the relationship between rural poverty, agricultural production and (consumer) prices. Distinguishing between transitory and persistent poverty, alternative measures of persistent poverty are presented in Section III. A case is then made for an interventionist anti‐poverty strategy, followed by a brief review (Section IV) of salient features and selected performance indicators of poverty alleviation programmes launched/implemented during the Sixth Plan period. Section V investigates whether these programmes — especially the IRDP — played a significant role in alleviating poverty. Section VI discusses selected anti‐poverty interventions and possible design‐related reforms; concluding observations are offered in the final section.

Suggested Citation

  • Raghav Gaiha, 1991. "Poverty Alleviation Programmes In Rural India: An Assessment," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 117-154, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:devchg:v:22:y:1991:i:1:p:117-154
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7660.1991.tb00405.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. M. H. Pesaran, 1974. "On the General Problem of Model Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 153-171.
    2. Sen, Amartya, 1979. " Issues in the Measurement of Poverty," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 285-307.
    3. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-231, March.
    4. B. S. Minhas & L. R. Jain & S. M. Kansal & M. R. Saluja, 1987. "On the Choice of Appropriate Consumer Price Indices and Data Sets for Estimating the Incidence of Poverty in India," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 22(1), pages 19-49, January.
    5. Gaiha, Raghav, 1989. "Poverty, Agricultural Production and Prices in Rural India--A Reformulation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 333-352, June.
    6. Parikh, K. & Srinivasan, T.N., 1989. "Poverty Alleviation Policies In India: Food Consumption Subsidy, Food Production Subsidy And Employment Generation," Papers 591, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    7. Raghav Gaiha, 1989. "Are the Chronically Poor Also the Poorest in Rural India?," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 20(2), pages 295-322, April.
    8. Gaiha, Raghav, 1987. "Impoverishment, Technology and Growth in Rural India," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 23-46, March.
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