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poverty in India – it’s not just about the numbers

October 6, 2011
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Read this interesting post by Jayati Gosh on the Guardian Poverty Matters blog on poverty measurement in India and how it matters for people’s lives. Far more important than the fact that an official urban and rural poverty line is used to measure poverty and produce poverty estimates for India, is the use of such lines for targeting assistance to those vulnerable and in need. Whilst the mismatch between poverty estimates based on people’s incomes or expenditures and other measures of deprivation or vulnerability may be a matter of researchers or scientists only if it was just about the figures, an underestimate of the number of people being malnourished or unable to sustain themselves due to the inadequacy of monetary measures capturing such issues makes a real difference to people if the availabe assistance depends on that measure. Critical voices therefore call for a move away from the Below the Poverty Line (BPL) and Above the Poverty Line (APL) differentiation when it comes to assessing who is in need for what kind of assistance.

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