Skip to main content

World Bank notes "acceleration" of India's urban poverty, slow pace of urbanization compared to rest of Asia

Counterview Desk
A just-released World Bank study noted sharp “acceleration in the pace of the urbanization of poverty” in India, especially since 2000, saying, in the early 1950s, 14 per cent of the country’s poor lived in urban areas, but by 2012 this rose to 32 per cent.
“This is broadly consistent with the pattern found in other developing countries”, the study, titled “Growth, Urbanization, and Poverty Reduction in India”, and authored by Gaurav Datt (Monash University, Melbourne), Martin Ravallion (Georgetown University, Washington DC) and Rinku Murgai (World Bank, New Delhi), says.
The study says that this pattern is found to exist because “relatively less poor rural workers may migrate, with gains, but be relatively poor in the destination urban sector”.
Suggesting that this finding is particularly significant for the country’s policy makers, the study says, “Famously, India's post-independence planners hoped that the country's urban-based industrialization process would bring longer-term gains to poor people, including through rural labour absorption.”
Suggesting that this an analysis of the available data show may not have happened, the study says, “The urban population share has been rising steadily over time in India, from 17 per cent in 1950 to 31 per cent today”, which is considerably less than the trend found in the region.
It says, “This pace of population urbanization (proportionate increase in the urban population share) has been less than either South Asia as a whole or lower middle-income countries as a whole, and markedly slower than for (say) China.”
Noting a relatively slower rate of poverty reduction in urban areas may have been the main reason for this, the study says, “In explaining this, a number of observers pointed to the slow pace of labour absorption from agriculture associated with the more inward-looking and capital-intensive development path.”
Disputing the view that “too little growth was the reason for India’s slow pace of poverty reduction”, the report states, “A deeper exploration of the data suggests that the sectoral pattern of growth played a role.”
Thus, it says, “Rural economic growth was more poverty reducing, as was growth in the tertiary (mainly services) and primary (mainly agriculture) sectors relative to the secondary (mainly manufacturing and construction) sector.”
Based on this, the study underlines, “Urban growth and secondary sector growth had adverse distributional effects that mitigated the gains to the urban poor, while urban growth brought little or no benefit to the rural poor.”
It adds, “The slow progress against poverty reflected both a lack of overall growth and a sectoral pattern of growth that did not favour poor people.”
The study says, “There was much hope in India that the higher growth rates attained in the wake of the economic reforms that started in earnest in the early 1990s would bring a faster pace of poverty reduction.”
“However, there have also been signs of rising inequality in the post-reform period, raising doubts about how much the poor have shared in the gains from higher growth rates”, the study says.

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”