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

S V SubramanianSubscribe to S V Subramanian

Robust Parliamentary Constituency Estimates

This article is a response to Srinivas Goli’s article “Unreliable Estimates of Child Malnutrition” ( EPW , 9 February 2019) that had questioned the reliability of methodologies of Akshay Swaminathan et al’s article “Burden of Child Malnutrition in India: A View from Parliamentary Constituencies” ( EPW , 12 January 2019). The reliability and usability of the methodologies proposed by Swaminathan et al have been reiterated, emphasising that these can provide broad assessments at the parliamentary constituency level.

Burden of Child Malnutrition in India

In India, monitoring and surveillance of health and well-being indicators have been focused primarily on the state and district levels. Analysing population data at the level of parliamentary constituencies has the potential to bring political accountability to the data-driven policy discourse that is currently based on district-level estimates. Using data from the fourth National Family Health Survey 2016, two geographic information systems methodologies have been developed and applied to provide estimates of four child malnutrition indicators (stunting, underweight, wasting, and anemia) for the 543 parliamentary constituencies in India. The results indicate that several constituencies experience a multiple burden of child malnutrition that must be addressed concurrently and as a priority.

Health Behaviour in Context

This paper aims to describe the socio-demographic and economic patterning of smoking, drinking and tobacco chewing behaviour in India. It also studies the effect of micro (individual households) and macro environments (local areas, districts, states) on health behaviour. The study finds strong, independent effects of socio-economic position and social caste, with the better-off smoking, drinking and chewing tobacco less. Significant local area, district and state variations suggest the importance of contexts in shaping health behaviours. It follows that more than individual behavioural change, the direction for policy may well be to focus on changing the macro environments.

Towards a Demographic Transition

The demographic debate in India now mostly centres on the causes of rapid fertility transition in the context of poor economic and social development. This paper looks at the experience in Andhra Pradesh. It tries to capture the progress of different demographic indicators in the state during the last quarter of a century and the socio-economic factors associated with the demographic phenomena.

Linking Indian Census with National Sample Survey

The Indian census provides the longest time-series on social and economic change in India and is a rich source of information on demographic variables. However the census does not include individual/household consumption and expenditure data, making its use in district-level policy analysis difficult. One way around the problem is to import this information from other sources, such as the National Sample Survey (NSS). Although the NSS does not sample every district in the country the sample sizes are reasonably large at the level of the NSS region. This opens up the possibility of using these estimates of consumption and poverty in conjunction with the census. This paper documents how a consistent time-series can be constructed for the two most recent censuses as a particular illustration of how the census and the NSS can be used together.
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