Mains Question for UPSC Aspirants

Mains Question for UPSC Aspirants

02 Jul 2022 gs-mains-paper-3 INDIAN ECONOMY      
Question : Q. Problem in poverty reduction is also due to the lack of its measurement data. Discuss some approaches to measure poverty in India.


Decode the Question:
  • Start with defining poverty and parameters used to measure poverty. 
  • Discuss the lack of measurement data and poverty reduction relation.
  • Discuss  various committees and approaches for poverty measurement in India.
  • Provide a suitable conclusion.

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Write or upload your answer - SUBMIT A-CUBE IAS Answer :
Poverty entails more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion, as well as the lack of participation in decision-making.
Since poverty has many facets, social scientists look at it through a variety of indicators. Usually, the indicators used relate to the levels of income and consumption. But now poverty is looked at through other social indicators like illiteracy level, lack of general resistance due to malnutrition, lack of access to healthcare, lack of job opportunities, lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation etc.
Analysis of poverty based on social exclusion and vulnerability is now becoming very common.
Lower-income countries are too often disadvantaged due to a lack of institutions, decision-making autonomy, and financial resources, all of which hold back their effective implementation and effectiveness of data systems and governance frameworks.
These are no proxies for poverty since their linkages with nutritional indicators are considered tenuous and these can be explained in terms of intra-household distribution, poor dietary habits, improper water/sanitation facilities, etc.
The computation becomes far more challenging in the absence of data on consumption expenditure as is the case in India and several developing countries. Intending to provide inputs for policy making, researchers have evolved ingenious methods of estimating the data, using past datasets and those that have not been designed to get robust expenditure estimates.
So, the problem in poverty reduction is also due to the lack of its measurement data.

Some approaches to measure poverty in India:
India has a long history of studies on measurement of poverty. Dadabhai Naoroji’ in his book ‘Poverty and Un-British Rule in India,’ made the earliest estimate of poverty line at 1867-68 prices (Rs.16 to Rs.35 per capita per year) based on the cost of a subsistence diet for the emigrant coolies during their voyage living in a state of quietude.
The erstwhile Planning Commission was the nodal agency in India for estimation of poverty. Based on the methodology suggested by the Expert Groups/Committees set up by the Planning Commission from time to time, India has undertaken periodic assessments of the incidence of poverty since the 1960s.

A. Poverty Line Estimation
  • Working Group (1962):  A nine-member working group set up by the Planning Commission proposed the poverty line at Rs 20 per capita per month in the early Sixties, loosely ensuring the adequacy of minimum requirements.
  • Study by VM Dandekar and N Rath (1971): They went into detail about minimum calorie needs, based on the average consumption pattern. They made the first systematic assessment of poverty in India, based on National Sample Survey (NSS) data.
  • Alagh Committee (1979): It determined a poverty line based on a minimum daily requirement of 2400 and 2100 calories for an adult in Rural and Urban areas respectively.
  • Lakdawala Expert Group (1993): It did not redefine the poverty line and retained the separate rural and urban poverty lines recommended by the Alagh Committee at the national level based on minimum nutritional requirements. However, it disaggregated them into state-specific poverty lines in order to reflect the inter-state price differentials.
  • Tendulkar Expert Group (2009): The Tendulkar Committee formally announced delinking of nutritional norms from poverty in 2010.
  • Rangrajan Committee (2014): It recommended separate consumption baskets for rural and urban areas which include food items that ensure recommended calorie, protein & fat intake and non-food items like clothing, education, health, housing and transport. This committee raised the daily per capita expenditure to Rs 47 for urban and Rs 32 for rural from Rs 32 and Rs 26 respectively at 2011-12 prices.
B. Use of Consumption Expenditure Surveys
  • Incidence of poverty is estimated by the Planning Commission on the basis of the large sample surveys on household consumer expenditure conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) on a quinquennial basis.
  • The NSSO regularly conducts surveys on household consumer expenditure, in which households are asked about their consumption of the last 30 days and is taken as the representative of general consumption. This was considered a much better data to estimate the incidence of poverty at national and sub-national levels by adjusting for inter-state and inter-region differences in price changes over time.
There are two critical issues in the discourse on poverty in India. One relates to poverty measurement. Second relates to effective poverty elimination.
  • Poverty measures compare people in a society, in order to assess the extent of unacceptable disadvantages that exist. Yet any poverty measure is itself imperfect. Imperfections stem primarily from two factors: data limitations and the diversity of human lives being assessed more so in a vast country like India.
  • Poverty lines have to be recalibrated depending on changes in income, consumption patterns and prices. In India, poverty measurement has repeatedly led to contentious debates on the poverty line.
  • Despite these shortcomings, conceptually having a poverty line and related poverty estimates help to concentrate the public policy discourse around an agreed set of numbers as well as to track the progress in combating poverty.


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(GS Mains; Paper 1)
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14 Mar 2022 gs-mains-paper-1 SOCIAL ISSUES AND SOCIAL JUSTICE      
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23 Jan 2022 gs-mains-paper-1 SOCIAL ISSUES AND SOCIAL JUSTICE        
Question : “Seeing the trend in Migration to cities and impending climate change there is need for building sustainable cities.”
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15 Jan 2022 gs-mains-paper-1 SOCIAL ISSUES AND SOCIAL JUSTICE      
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(GS MAINS; Paper-1 - Population and Associated Issues)
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04 Jan 2022 gs-mains-paper-3 INDIAN ECONOMY     
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(GS MAINS; PAPER 3)

 
 
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