Money-metric poverty, welfare, growth, and inequality in India: 1983 – 2011/12

S. Subramanian and D. Jayaraj

On the record of poverty and inequality in India over the last thirty or so years, the general scholarly view seems to be that there have been substantial declines in money-metric poverty, that there has been no significant over-time increase in inequality, and that the growth in per capita consumption expenditure has not been marked by any discernible evidence of non-inclusiveness. It is argued in this paper that inferences of this nature are largely a consequence of the particular approaches to the measurement of poverty, inequality and inclusiveness that have been generally adopted in the literature. Alternative, and arguably more plausible, protocols of measurement suggest a picture of money-metric deprivation and disparity in India which shares little in common with the product of received wisdom on the subject.