ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Anirudh KrishnaSubscribe to Anirudh Krishna

Uneven Gains and Bottom-50 Districts

Using data from the National Family Health Survey­-5 (2019–21), it is found that younger individuals (20–40 years) have made impressive gains in education. The average young Indian has a high school education—much better than their mother’s generation that went to school for only three years.

Why Do Poorer Kids Not Move Ahead Faster?

Can a poorer individual who has a particular talent realistically hope to move up in life because they have this particular talent? This proposition is put to the test by interviewing more than 800 young individuals in rural and urban Bihar and Delhi. Findings show that these individuals have had virtually no opportunity to be tested for any hidden talent, be it a talent for athletics, for singing, chess, art or mathematics. Not one of these young people has ever competed at the national, state, or district level. The poverty of their circumstances is made worse by this poverty of opportunity. Millions lose out on alternative careers. Future champions remain unidentified and unrewarded. Something better is necessary to make equality of opportunity less of a slogan and more of a reality.

Tracing the Geographies of Inequality in India

Spatial, that is, geographic inequalities are growing in India and other countries. Some countries are better provided with services, infrastructure, and earning opportunities. States matter and the urban–rural difference is salient to these distinctions. However, locating the geographies of advantage and disadvantage requires going below the level of states and beyond the binary of urban–rural distinction. A sevenfold classification of districts is offered to help in visualising overlapping disadvantages. It reveals important differences in living conditions and is a first effort to go beneath the urban–rural dichotomy.

Food Subsidy in Cash or Kind?

The need for the public distribution system varies widely across states and districts. In some districts, the poor draw more than 80% of their grain from thePDS, but in other districts this share is less than 10%. A wide diversity of relationships with the PDS exist, suggesting a need for alternative modes of provisioning. A variable geometry of food provisioning might emerge, with cash working better for the needs of some districts and grain supply continuing to work better in other districts. Only a well-designed empirical test of the alternative modes will help ascertain the preferred shape of the PDS for a particular state or district.

Rags to Riches? Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in India

The paper examines intergenerational occupational mobility in India among males. This analysis differs from previous work in three important respects. First, a finer-grained categorisation that takes into account differences in skill levels across occupations as well as India’s social hierarchy of labour is used. Second, both large and moderate ascents and descents are examined. Third, the situation in India with mobility patterns at other times and in other countries is compared. The results show vast differences in the upward and downward mobility prospects of urban and rural residents and upper-caste Hindus versus Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The findings also reveal that downward mobility risks loom large in India and that mobility patterns in India and China appear remarkably similar.

Layers in Globalising Society and the New Middle Class in India

The means of personal transportation to which one has access constitute an important part of one's relationship with globalisation, limiting or enhancing the scope of activity and area of influence. We define economic classes in relation to different transportation assets, considering as the lower middle class those who have motorcycles or motor-scooters, and as the upper middle class, those who own automobiles. Unambiguously identifying a middle class is difficult; the term is relational, context-dependent, and inchoate. However, the lower- and upper-middle classes, defined in this manner, are robust to alternative definitions: these groups have substantially higher incomes than groups below, own disproportionately large shares of other physical assets, and do much better in terms of education, health, media exposure, and social capital. The middle class increased from 11% in 1992 to almost double this percentage in the early years of the new millennium. Subsequently, its growth has slowed down, coming almost to a halt in rural areas. Fragility and volatility are in evidence; many, formerly in the middle class, have fallen back. It cannot be blithely assumed that India's middle class will grow much larger.

Making It in India

Inequality is rising in India alongside rapid economic growth, reinforcing the need to investigate social mobility. Are children from less well-off sections also able to rise to higher paying positions, or are these positions going mainly to established elites? This survey of more than 1,500 recent entrants to a variety of engineering colleges, business schools, and higher civil services finds that class and caste continue to make an important difference. Factors that stand out as significant barriers to entry include rural upbringing and parents' lack of education. Individuals who have succeeded in surmounting these obstacles have almost invariably been assisted by a teacher, relative, or friend who motivated and inspired them. A way out of the conundrum can be explored by investing in role models and information provision.

Lineal Spread and Radial Dissipation: Experiencing Growth in Rural India, 1993-2005

The distribution of benefits from economic growth since the early 1990s has followed an identifiable spatial pattern. People in the largest cities have achieved the greatest gains, followed by people in small towns and villages close to towns. Further away, in villages located more than five kilometres from the nearest town - home to more than half of the entire population of India - inflation-adjusted per capita incomes fell between 1993 and 2005. The steepest declines were experienced by the lowest income groups. Rising inequality is a natural result of these spatially distributed trends. The debilitating effects of "distance from town" need to be countered by connecting outlying villages with more and better physical and social infrastructures.

Why Do Some Countries Win More Olympic Medals?

Not everyone in our country has equal access to competitive sports. Many are not effective participants on account of ignorance or disinterest, disability or deterrence. This analysis considers two separate arenas for enlarging the pool of effective participants, one related to sports and other to social mobility. In both cases, this paper finds the plausibility of an explanation based on effective participation rates. It examines what country characteristics are associated with greater success in the Olympics at the macro level by considering indicators such as health, education, and especially three variables of information and access (road length per unit of land area, the share of urban population and radios per capita). It also analyses the opportunities and achievements in the villages of two states, Karnataka and Rajasthan.

What Does It Take to Become a Software Professional?

Rather than place of origin (rural vs urban) or economic background, two educated parents most commonly characterise newly recruited software professionals in Bangalore. A survey of three software firms showed that fathers of all new recruits have at least a high school degree; 75 per cent are college graduates. More than 80 per cent of all mothers also have a high school education or better. Having two educated parents is a significant asset in a situation of information scarcity; however, no more than 4-7 per cent of all Indians have parents who are similarly qualified. Restricting better-paying jobs to this tiny segment of the national talent pool severely shrinks the prospects for national growth and individual achievement. How information gaps can be resolved through better institutional means needs to be publicly debated.

Understanding Poverty

Understanding Poverty The Stages-of-Progress Method ANIRUDH KRISHNA If conventional methods and remedies are indeed as good as C S Murty claims (EPW, September 18, 2004) then why is poverty still so rampant in our country? Murty

Falling into Poverty in Villages of Andhra Pradesh

Different reasons account for households escaping from poverty and those falling into poverty. Different policies and programmes will be required to deal with each of these two separate trends and both will be needed simultaneously in all villages. The most effective public policies to apply in any region are best identified through careful micro-level analyses. A methodology to assist with this kind of inquiry was developed initially for investigations in southern Rajasthan and was modified in northern Gujarat. This paper reports the results of investigations using the improved methodology in 36 villages of Andhra Pradesh.


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