Vol. 3, Issue 1 (2016)
A comprehensive analysis of poverty in India
Author(s): Nisar Ahmad Shiekh
Abstract: India, like other third world countries is a low income developing economy. There is no doubt that nearly one-fourth of its population lives in conditions of misery. Poverty is not only acute, but is also a chronic malady in India. At the same time, there exist unutilized natural resources. The Planning Commission is the nodal agency in the government of India for estimation of poverty at national and state levels. The estimates of poverty are made using the large sample survey data on household consumer expenditure constituted by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation. The Planning Commission has provided estimates of the incidence of poverty since the early 1970s. On the criteria using official methodology, the Planning Commission estimated incidence of poverty for several years during the period from 1977-78 to 1994-95. These estimates of the planning commission suggest spectacular decline in the incidence of poverty during 17 years period from 1977-78 to 1994-95. During the 11year period 1993-94 to 2004-05, the average decline in the poverty ratio was 0.74 percentage points per year. It accelerated to 2.18 percentage points per year during the 7-year period 2004-05 to 2011-12. Therefore, it can be concluded that the rate of decline in poverty ratio during the most recent 7-year period 2004-05 to 2011-12 was about three times of that experienced in the 11-year period 1993-94 to 2004-05. Eradication of poverty from a level of 47.8% in 1990 to 21.8% in 2011-12 has been a major achievement of India’s growth strategy. However, there is no room for complacency on this issue as the incidence of poverty as well as the number of poor has gone up. Besides the growth has been uneven when comparing social groups, economic groups, geographical regions, and rural and urban areas.