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Poverty Among Social and Economic Groups In India in the Nineteen Nineties


  • K. Sundaram

    (Delhi School of Economics.)

  • Suresh D. Tendulkar

    (Delhi School of Economics.)


This paper examines the levels and changes in poverty indicators of the rural and urban population in India disaggregated by social and economic groups. The analysis is based on the comparable estimates of poverty on the mixed reference period computed from the unit record data for the 50 th (1993-94) and the 55 th (1999-2000) rounds of the Consumer Expenditure Surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation. The issue is how far different social and economic groups shared the overall decline in poverty in the 1990s. Four poverty indicators are considered, namely, headcount ratio,the depth and severity measures (PGI and FGT*) as also the absolute size of the poor population. The social groups most vulnerable to poverty have been identified to be the scheduled caste households and the scheduled tribe households with both these groups having above average levels of poverty indicators in the rural and the urban population.Among the economic groups, the most vulnerable groups are the agricultural labour households (rural) and the casual labour households (urban) each having the highestlevels of the poverty indicators in their respective population segments. In terms of changes in poverty in the 1990s, it is found that while the scheduled caste and the agricultural labour (rural) and the casual labour (urban) households experienced declines in poverty on par with the total population, the scheduled tribe households fared badly in both the segments. A further disaggregated analysis brings out the consequences for poverty of combined social and economic vulnerabilities. The paper also presents poverty indicators adjusted for between-(economic and social) group disparity and discusses the implications of the empirical results for the design of a strategy for poverty reduction.

Suggested Citation

  • K. Sundaram & Suresh D. Tendulkar, 2003. "Poverty Among Social and Economic Groups In India in the Nineteen Nineties," Working papers 118, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:118

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    Cited by:

    1. Mondal, Snehasis, 2018. "Poverty, Politics and the Socially Marginalised – a state level analysis in India," MPRA Paper 83837, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Weitzel, Matthias & Ghosh, Joydeep & Peterson, Sonja & Pradhan, Basanta K., 2015. "Effects of international climate policy for India: evidence from a national and global CGE model," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(04), pages 516-538, August.
    3. Mehtabul Azam, 2012. "A distributional analysis of social group inequality in rural India," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 415-432, May.
    4. Alkire, Sabina & Seth, Suman, 2015. "Multidimensional Poverty Reduction in India between 1999 and 2006: Where and How?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 93-108.
    5. Subramanian, Sreenivasan, 2012. "Variable Populations and the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality," WIDER Working Paper Series 053, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Swati Dutta & Lakshmi Kumar, 2016. "Is Poverty Stochastic or Structural in Nature? Evidence from Rural India," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 957-979, September.
    7. Reena Kumari, 2016. "Regional disparity in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar: a disaggregated level analysis," Journal of Social and Economic Development, Springer;Institute for Social and Economic Change, vol. 18(1), pages 121-146, October.
    8. Swati Dutta, 2015. "Identifying Single or Multiple Poverty Trap: An Application to Indian Household Panel Data," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 120(1), pages 157-179, January.

    More about this item


    India; Poverty; Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes; Labour Households;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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