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

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Poverty Reduction by Manipulation

Poverty Reduction by Manipulation IN recent statements, finance minister Manmohan Singh and other government spokespersons have highlighted the preliminary resultsof a Planning Commission exercise, based on National Sample Survey data, which reportedly show a decline in the proportion of people below the poverty line from 25.5 percent in 1987-88 to 19 percent in 1993-94. This is remarkable because, using the NSS data available up to now, many independent analysts had come to the conclusion that poverty had increased significantly during the early 1990s. If the latest data do indeed show that poverty has declined compared to the late 1980s, this would represent a reversal of the early 1990s trend. However, the Planning Commission itself has now issued a clarification stating thai the figures quoted were not only preliminary but were also based on partial data from the NSS and that these would be revised as fuller data became available. This appears to leave the question of trends in the incidence of poverty unresolved, though the government and the media continue to purvey the estimates quoted above.

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