Income and Expenditure Switching among the Impoverished during Structural Adjustment in India
The impoverishment during 1991-93 was largely a result of policy reforms. In the absence of income switching, the impoverishment would have been greater. The patterns of income switching differed among the three Indian states, viz. Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Confining the analysis to household expenditure on food, medical care and education, however, little, if any, expenditure switching occurred. To some extent, the effects of household expenditure cuts were compounded by cuts in public expenditure. But, given the aggregate expenditure categories, there is a risk of overstating the effects on the poor. A more fundamental concern nonetheless remains. Given the acute deprivation of a large segment of the rural population, it is imperative that public provision of basic goods and services is strengthened. A case in point is the public distribution system for food (PDS). Despite the revamping, the benefits to the poor have not increased while the subsidy has. Short of drastic reforms, it is unlikely that the cost-effectiveness of the PDS will improve. Copyright 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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