An Assessment of Poverty Studies in India with Special Reference to Economic Reforms

As it is well-known, the study of poverty is extremely important on moral and philosophical and also, political grounds. Further, evidences are available to show that poverty affects growth adversely. We, therefore, have made an attempt to review some of the important studies on poverty in India. The concept of poverty relates to socially perceived deprivation with respect to basic minimum needs. In the Indian context, poverty is measured in terms of a specified normative poverty line reflecting the minimum living standard of the people. Defining a poverty line is, therefore, the first step in estimating poverty. According to the Expert Group (1993), a poverty line, dividing the poor from the non-poor, is used by putting a price on the minimum required consumption levels of food, clothing, shelter, fuel and health care, etc. In equal practice however, the poverty lines are normative only in terms of calorie requirements of the diet.