Skip to main content

India's urban poverty doubles since 1950s, pace of urbanization lower than South Asian countries, China: Study

Counterview Desk
In a new study, apparently carried out from a World Bank perspective, three senior economists have said that in the early 1950s, just about 14 per cent of the poor lived in India’s urban areas; however, they note, “by 2012 this had risen to 35 per cent”, adding, “There is a sign of acceleration in the pace of the urbanization of poverty since 2000.”
Giving a slightly different figure in an article based on the study in an online portal, the economists say, “The urban population share has been rising steadily over time in India, from 17 per cent in 1950 to 31 per cent today”.
They simultaneously admit, “India’s pace of population urbanisation (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.”
Titled “Growth, Urbanization and Poverty Reduction in India”, the study has been authored by Gaurav Datt (Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Deputy Director, Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability, Monash University), Martin Ravallion (Edmond D. Villani Chair of Economics, Georgetown University) and Rinku Murgai (Lead Economist, World Bank).
Ironical though it may seem, the economists – taking an approach similar to top World Bank policy makers – observe a “notable change”. They believe, urbanization process, albeit slow, was instrumental in reducing overall poverty (rural plus urban) in the country.
The study has been published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a think tank with offices in Massachusetts and New York, and is currently being disseminated online by World Bank, which said about it, through a tweet, “Urbanization played an important role in rural #poverty reduction in #India.”
Providing an analysis of the post-1991 period, the cut-off period when Manmohan Singh came up with the new economic policy, “opening up” the economy to market forces, the authors say, “While in the pre-91 period urban growth had no discernible impact on rural poverty, a significant and large impact emerged post-91.”
In their calculations, the economists say, in the post-91 period, “in proportionate terms, poverty incidence declined at the rate of 1.3% per annum.”
They believe, “Rural poverty measures, that were historically higher than for urban areas, have been converging with urban measures over time, and the (distribution-sensitive) squared poverty gap index for urban India has actually overtaken that for rural India in recent years.”
Thus, they say, what one sees is “a marked urbanization of poverty in India over this period, from about one-in-eight of the poor living in urban areas in the early 1950s to one-in-three today.”
Pointing out that poverty reduction was there because of “a significant spurt in economic growth, driven by growth in the tertiary sector and to a lesser extent, secondary sector”, the economists say, “The pace of poverty reduction also accelerated, with a 3-4 fold increase in the proportionate rate of decline in the post-91 period.”
“Thus”, they add, “Faster growth also appears to have been more pro-poor when the latter is measured by the growth elasticity of poverty reduction.”
“Seen through the lens of growth by output sectors, the contribution of primary sector growth has rapidly dwindled from accounting for about two-fifths of the total poverty decline pre-91 to less than 10 percent of the total (and larger) poverty decline post-91”, the economists say.
“The tertiary sector alone has contributed over 60% of the post-91 poverty reduction. The secondary sector growth has contributed about a quarter. India’s construction boom since 2000 has clearly helped assure a more pro-poor growth process from the secondary sector”, they add.
---
Download study HERE

Comments

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.