Recently Professor YK Alagh wrote two opinion pieces on Posture-nomics and Models and Realities in The Indian Express where he referred to my work on poverty estimates. Some of these were not publicly available and are now put up in a working paper, Incidence of Poor and Poverty Risk in India across NSS Regions for Rural and Urban areas, 2004-05 and 2009-10.
The paper provides an estimate of incidence of poor and poverty risk in India across NSS regions for 2004-05 and 2009-10 in rural and urban areas. It raises concern on increasing poverty risk and also incidence of poor in some regions. These are not necessarily among the relatively worse-off CABMOUJ (kab mouj, referring to Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand) states, but they also happen to be in some of the better performing states like Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab.
Our NSS region wise analysis shows that poverty risk being greater than unity has reduced from 33 regions in 2004-05 to 26 regions in 2009-10 for rural areas and has increased from 35 regions in 2004-05 to 36 regions in 2009-10 for urban areas. Further, from the 26 regions with poverty risk greater than unity in 2009-10 for rural areas, 18 regions indicated an increase in poverty risk when compared with 2004-05 and poverty risk also showed an increase in another 10 regions. However, from the 36 regions with poverty risk greater than unity in 2009-10 for urban areas, 20 regions indicated an increase in poverty risk when compared with 2004-05 and poverty risk also showed an increase in another 18 regions. Relatively speaking, this indicates a tendency towards convergence or greater concentration of poverty in some regions for rural areas while there is an increase in spread across regions for urban areas. This may also explain the effect on account of population shift or migration from urban to rural areas in our understanding of decomposing poverty change (Mishra 2014).
The CABMOUJ states, the North-East states, other hilly and mountainous regions and some smaller entities in rural areas do give the impression of the increasing incidence of poor and poverty risk in largely rainfed and other vulnerable regions. That apart a matter of increasing concern is that there are regions in well-performing states where one not only observes an increase in poverty risk, but also an increase in the incidence of poor. They are both rural and urban areas of Plains Southern in Gujarat (the concerns raised by Alagh (2014a, b)), Northern Punjab and Central Plains in West Bengal, and urban areas of Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Eastern Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Mountainous and Jhelum Valley in Jammu & Kashmir, and Eastern Maharashtra among others.
With reductions in poverty, the public policy focus should be among regions and sub-groups with relatively higher incidences and higher poverty risk. At the same time, it should also be a matter of concern that the incidence of poor is increasing among a sub-group of populations. At first glance, they seem to be among some CABMOUJ states, but a deeper probing indicates that this seems to be emerging in North-East states and also in some regions among the better-off states like Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab. This should be an important concern for public policy.
Other recent related work
Mishra, S. (2014). Decomposing Poverty Change: Deciphering Change in Total Population and Beyond, Review of Income and Wealth, forthcoming.
Pathak DC, Mishra S. (2011). Poverty Estimates in India: Old and New Methods, 2004-05. Working Paper No. WP-2011-015. Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai.
Pathak DC, Mishra S. (2013). Poverty in India and Its Decompositions: A Critical Appraisal of the New Method, in S. Mahendra Dev (ed.) India Development Report 2012-13, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp.209-223 and 414-417, see pre-print version.
The link to the current paper is Incidence of Poor and Poverty Risk in India across NSS Regions for Rural and Urban areas, 2004-05 and 2009-10.