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

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Abolish the Poverty Line

There is no case whatsoever to construct a single poverty line based on a calorie or expenditure norm; all such lines are arbitrary and do not take into account the different dimensions of poverty. It is far better to focus on disaggregated information on a variety of parameters - education, housing, clothing, health, etc - which can give us unambiguous information about the different facets of poverty over the course of time.

A Unique Personality

K Balagopal was unique in many respects. To my mind, he can be counted along with E M S Namboodiripad, A K Gopalan and such others, who had given up all personal possessions and aspirations and struggled for the oppressed poor. Balagopal straddled the intellectual and activist domains in an amazing...

Kerala Milestones

Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and China going the capitalist way, there is a need to study and debate the Kerala experiment in the "peaceful transition to socialism", in which the communists have played a vital role in the promotion of a democratic society that protects the poor and endows them with a dignity unique in India. This article examines land and labour relations in Kerala since the early 1950s. It also looks closely at the strategic responses of the Left to the changing conditions in agriculture and rural industry and to the "gap" between social development and the growth of the material sectors.

Religion and Fertility

For understanding emerging patterns in fertility behaviour, according to the religious beliefs of a population, it is grossly unscientific to look only at current levels at a time when fertility is falling in all regions and among all communities, at varying rates and in response to different social factors.

Gender Differentials in Adult Mortality

Even as the debate continues on the magnitudes of female foeticide and infanticide, it is necessary to note that the marginal improvements in the sex ratio recorded towards the end of the last century are the outcome of a narrowing gap in gender differentials in adult mortality. This paper looks at the trends and variations in this gap.

Crimes against Women in India

Data on crime in India are published annually by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). These are compiled from records of police stations all over the country and refer to reported and registered crime. For recent years the data cover crimes against women in some detail, disaggregated to the district level. Reporting of crime tends to be incomplete; so the data are prima facie suspect. Nevertheless, they may be useful in studying regional variations, considering that underreporting is a universal feature. Social scientists have neglected the study of crime despite its increasing presence in our daily lives. This paper is an attempt to see what official, published data reveal, whether there are clear-cut regional patterns and if so whether they can lead to meaningful hypotheses for future work.

Trends in Sex Ratio

Commenting on my review article ( EPW, April 1), K Srinivasan ( EPW, August 5) resurrects the female undercount hypothesis to explain the decline in sex ratio during the 1980s. He maintains that even now facilities for sex determination are not easily available in rural areas, especially in Bihar...

Trends in Sex Ratio

The 1991 Census counted 927 females to every 1,000 males in the Indian population. That was an all-time low level in the recorded female-to-male ratio. It laid to rest the sanguine prospect generated by the previous census, which showed an improvement in the ratio: to 934 in 1981 from 930 in 1971. Indeed, there has been a secular decline in the sex ratio from the beginning of this century. Some probing into what lies behind the long-term trend and its reestablishment in 1991 suggests - as the studies reviewed here do - that a further decline in the ratio is quite probable when the first count is made in the next millennium.

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT-Malevolence of Affluence

Malevolence of Affluence N Krishnaji writes: THE focus of the Human Development Report 1998 is on inequalities in consumption across nations and between the rich and the poor everywhere. These inequalities are glaring and all too visible to the naked eye: in terms of the range of goods and services the rich command and the lack of adequate food, clothing and shelter among the poor. Making international comparisons of income and consumption is conceptually difficult, but thanks to the work behind the Human Development Reports and efforts by independent scholars, the usual GDP statistics can now be adjusted to yield meaningful comparisons of living standards. In addition, data on private consumption of items ranging from food to automobiles are readily available. HDR 1998 makes a presentation of the inequalities in much graphic detail.

Development in a Wider Context

Indian Development: Selected Regional Perspectives edited by Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen; UNU/WIDER Studies in Development Economics, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1997; pp xx + 420, Rs 595.

Human Poverty Index-A Critique

This note reviews the construction of the Human Poverty Index (HPI) presented in the Human Development Report 1997. Like all such indices, the HPl summarises information but, it is argued here, as a summary measure it has no obvious merit, especially in relation to simpler, more easily understood indices such as the simple mean. Do we need an Index at all? The answer is no.

T N Krishnan In Memoriam

In Memoriam A Vaidyanathan N Krishnaji T N Krishnan, whose research interests encompassed food policy, literacy, health, fertility behaviour and social security, was of the firm view that research should not end up in the annals of academic but must be used to change and improve policy.

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