NIAS Wednesday Discussion-Dr. Debosree Banerjee will speak on “Poverty and deprivation in India”

NIAS Wednesday Discussion


Topic:              “Poverty and deprivation in India”


Speaker:          Debosree Banerjee

Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences, NIAS


Chairperson:    Tarun Menon

                        Assistant Professor, School of Humanities, NIAS


Date:               17th March 2021


Time:               4.00 PM


Venue:             Lecture Hall, NIAS


All are cordially invited


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Abstract: Poverty in India has been widely measured in terms of the headcount below a poverty line based on consumption expenditure. The method has been the subject of considerable debate since Dandekar and Rath, 1971 first defined the poverty line in terms of the expenditure levels that ensured a standard per capita calorie consumption per day. Much of this debate has been on the quality of the estimates of the poverty line, without challenging the use of consumption expenditure as the basis for estimating poverty. This has ensured that a question that has found mention in the larger theoretical literature on poverty does not have a prominent place in the Indian debate: How would our assessment of the extent of poverty in India, and its regional variation, change if we used a measure based on assets instead of consumption? And this question cannot be answered without first asking another: can we define an asset-based measure which is more sensitive to those facing extreme deprivation?


This research seeks to address these two questions by first summarising the theoretical arguments that have been made against consumption-based estimates of poverty and in particular the headcount ratio in these estimates; arguments which have contributed to the development of an asset-based measure of deprivation. It then measures poverty across states in India using this index of the distance from absolute deprivation. This allows the next section of the research to identify specific differences that emerge between the consumption-based estimates of the proportion of population below the poverty line and the estimates of the distance from absolute deprivation. The research concludes by pointing to some implications of the asset-based deprivation index for our understanding of poverty in India.   


About the speaker: Debosree Banerjee is an applied microeconomist by training. Debosree’s research interests are in the areas of Development Economics and Public Policy. Her current research examines the aspects of development and inequalities in India.


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For further info, please contact Prof Anindya Sinha [   or ] or Shri K S Rama Krishna [ ], Coordinators of the NIAS Wednesday Discussion Meetings.


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Wednesday, March 17, 2021