Poverty and Neo-liberalism in India

Jan 6th 2007, Utsa Patnaik

This paper explores why the official poverty estimates show low levels as well as decline in poverty in India over the 1990s, whereas all other economic and social indicators suggest that absolute poverty is high. The former do not capture the true picture because the official method involves the 'fallacy of equivocation'. It is also argued that when actual rural poverty is as high as nearly four-fifths of the population and poverty depth is increasing with a higher proportion of people being pushed down into lower nutritional status, there is an urgent need to revert to a demand-driven universal public distribution system.

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