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An Assessment of Poverty Studies in India with Special Reference to Economic Reforms


  • Basanta K. Pradhan

    (National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi, India.)

  • M.R. Saluja

    (National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi, India.)


As it is well-known, the study of poverty is extremely important on moral and philosophical and also, political grounds. Further, evidences are available to show that poverty affects growth adversely. We, therefore, have made an attempt to review some of the important studies on poverty in India. The concept of poverty relates to socially perceived deprivation with respect to basic minimum needs. In the Indian context, poverty is measured in terms of a specified normative poverty line reflecting the minimum living standard of the people. Defining a poverty line is, therefore, the first step in estimating poverty. According to the Expert Group (1993), a poverty line, dividing the poor from the non-poor, is used by putting a price on the minimum required consumption levels of food, clothing, shelter, fuel and health care, etc. In equal practice however, the poverty lines are normative only in terms of calorie requirements of the diet. Since the beginning of sixties a number of studies have been conducted to estimate the incidence of poverty and to find out the determinants of poverty. Different methods have been used to estimate the incidence. All these are, however, based on the use of poverty lines and the distribution of expenditure of households. These lines have been updated by using alternative price index numbers, and, expectedly, it has resulted in different estimates. Even the base year poverty lines, used by various authors, are different. Various measures of poverty to know its severity and depth have also been estimated by the researchers. The relationships between the incidence of poverty and its determinants have been estimated by using different variables and models.

Suggested Citation

  • Basanta K. Pradhan & M.R. Saluja, 1998. "An Assessment of Poverty Studies in India with Special Reference to Economic Reforms," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 37(4), pages 1081-1102.
  • Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:37:y:1998:i:4:p:1081-1102

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 1995. "Growth and poverty in rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1405, The World Bank.
    2. Datt, Gaurav, 1998. "Poverty in India and Indian states," FCND discussion papers 47, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    4. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 1996. "How Important to India's Poor Is the Sectoral Composition of Economic Growth?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(1), pages 1-25, January.
    5. Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Poverty and Economic Growth with Application to Cote d'Ivoire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(2), pages 121-139, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Nanak Kakwani, 1993. "Poverty And Economic Growth With Application To Côte D'Ivoire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(2), pages 121-139, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aradhna Aggarwal & Nagesh Kumar, 2012. "Structural Change, Industrialization and Poverty Reduction: The Case of India," Development Papers 1206, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) South and South-West Asia Office.

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