“When you can’t measure it, you may’t enhance it.” This oft-cited quote is attributed to Lord Kelvin or William Thomson, who additionally theorised a very new temperature scale. Equally, administration professor Peter Drucker has mentioned one thing related: “What can’t be measured, can’t be managed.” The identical holds true within the case of public coverage too. Any knowledgeable coverage needs to be pushed by knowledge. Poverty measurement isn’t any exception. It helps in getting an understanding of ranges of deprivation. Poverty analyses are important primarily for 3 causes: (1) To determine poverty ranges within the nation; (2) to reach on the causes for poverty within the geographical area; and (3) to tell coverage. Common poverty measurement additionally helps in gauging the effectiveness of improvement technique.

For estimating poverty, you will need to have a poverty line and correct knowledge on consumption expenditure. So far as the primary one is anxious, India follows the poverty line by the Tendulkar Committee. The poverty line has been disaggregated state-wise and individually for rural and concrete areas. As for correct knowledge on consumption expenditure, one of the simplest ways is to depend on NSS’ Family Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES). It’s a complete survey that seeks data on greater than 300 objects equivalent to clothes, schooling, gasoline, hire, transportation, sturdy items, and so forth. It permits one to get insights into the demographic, dietary and labour-force traits of poverty teams. At the moment, we now have knowledge from HCES carried out in 2011-12. Therefore, the poverty estimates primarily based on the Tendulkar Methodology are additionally from 2011-12.

With no shopper expenditure survey, one has to depend on the following greatest different to reach at poverty estimates for the nation. On this case, it’s the Periodic Labour Drive Survey (PLFS) 2020-21. One inevitable response can be that PLFS can’t be used to reach at poverty estimates. Which may have been the case if one relied on earlier PLFS rounds to reach at poverty estimates. In earlier PLFS rounds, just one query was administered to gather knowledge on individuals’ consumption expenditure. In PLFS 2020-21, nevertheless, there have been 5 completely different questions on consumption expenditure. These embrace data on (a) items and companies; (b) homegrown produce; (c) in-kind transfers and presents; (d) expenditure on clothes, footwear, and so forth; and (e) expenditure on sturdy items. The worth of one thing like free grains or different in-kind transfers is imputed primarily based on the response of the participant. Thus, PLFS 2020-21 is best outfitted as in comparison with PLFS rounds to imitate a family shopper expenditure survey.

Moreover, one other peculiar factor about PLFS 2020-21 is that it was undertaken proper in the midst of the pandemic, i.e., from July 2020 to June 2021. Because of this, it takes into consideration the impression of each the primary and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic. It additionally considers the impression of reverse migration from city areas to rural areas in the course of the first wave of the pandemic. Because the financial system has recovered after 2020-21, there would have been an extra discount in poverty within the present monetary yr.

PLFS 2020-21 was undertaken proper in the midst of the pandemic, i.e., from July 2020 to June 2021. Because of this, it takes into consideration the impression of each the primary and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic. It additionally takes into consideration the impression of reverse migration from city areas to rural areas in the course of the first wave of the pandemic. The inhabitants which is simply above the poverty line and weak to dangers and occasions is prone to going beneath the poverty line throughout a disaster or shock. As soon as the financial system recovers, these just under the poverty line once more go above the poverty line. Thus, because the financial system has recovered after 2020-21, poverty may have additional lowered within the present monetary yr.

Thus, we now have used PLFS 2020-21 to reach at all-India and state-wise poverty estimates. We now have additionally used the Client Worth Index (CPI) for worth modifications since 2011-12 to reach at corresponding poverty strains for 2020-21. If one seems at all-India numbers, the poverty in India has lowered from 21.9% in 2011-12 to 17.9% in 2020-21. Whereas the discount is important, it isn’t commensurate. The discount was curtailed as a result of pandemic. Poverty discount would have been extra pronounced had the survey been carried out in a standard yr.

Among the many giant states, the best ranges of the inhabitants above the poverty line reside in Maharashtra (29.6%), Karnataka (28%), Chhattisgarh (26.7%), Bihar (25.5) and Jharkhand (26.8%). There are additionally the states which have seen a major improve in poverty. Once more, if one excludes the small states (as a result of the pattern dimension can be small in these states), poverty has elevated in Maharashtra (by 12.5%), Rajasthan (8.5%) Jammu & Kashmir (7.8%), Karnataka (7.1%), and Uttarakhand (5.7%). Since a few of these states are additionally densely populated, rising poverty ranges is regarding. Aside from the intervention by the Union authorities, the state governments can even should do their share of labor in direction of poverty alleviation. They need to have a look at the steps taken by different states towards poverty discount. It’s commendable that in Arunachal Pradesh (-22%), Odisha (-19.8%), Assam (-13.5%). Chhattisgarh (-13.2%), Mizoram (-10.8%), Jharkhand (-10.1%), West Bengal (-9.9%) and Uttar Pradesh (-8.1%) poverty has lowered considerably within the final 9 years.

In one of the vital cited essays on poverty, Lipton and Ravallion be aware: “The very best incidence and severity of poverty are present in rural areas, particularly if ill-watered. Issues concerning the ‘urbanisation of poverty’ in LDCs are generally overstated. Whereas the proportion of the poor residing in city areas is undoubtedly rising, it stays true that just about all points of poverty are typically worse in rural areas of LDCs.”

Poverty was largely seen as a rural phenomenon. Nevertheless, at the moment each in LDCs and middle-income nations, poverty is extra pronounced in city areas. This has been noticed in our evaluation too. Whereas the poverty in rural areas has decreased by 5.6%, in city areas, it has solely decreased by 1.1%. In states like Bihar, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, the variety of individuals residing beneath the poverty strains are increased in city areas than in rural areas. One cause for the numerous discount of poverty in rural areas is the security internet created by a number of schemes, be it Ujjwala or one thing like Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana. However, the rising poverty in city areas is regarding and urban-centric interventions are wanted in particularly these states to handle the poverty problem.

Bibek Debroy is Chairman, EAC-PM; Sarvadanand Barnwal is Joint Director, EAC-PM; and, Aditya Sinha is Extra Non-public Secretary (Analysis), EAC-PM. The views expressed on this article are these of the creator and don’t signify the stand of this publication.

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