Rohini Nayyar Prize


Eminent economist and caring friend

Rohini Nayyar, an eminent economist, a committed policy adviser passionate about
inclusive rural development and the eradication of rural poverty, and a warm and affectionate friend, passed away on October 24, after a protracted illness.

Rural Poverty in Bihar 1961-62 to 1970-71

This paper seeks to analyse the distribution of consumption expenditure and the incidence of poverty in rural Bihar during the 1960s. While inequality in the distribution of consumption
expenditure remained more or less unchanged between 1961-62 and
1970-71, there was a fall in the average real per capita expenditure
of all segments of the rural population. Moreover, this period
witnessed a marked increase in the proportion of the rural poor, and,
in 1970-71, it is estimated that 60 per cent of the rural population in
Bihar lived below the poverty line.

Wages of Agricultural Labourers in Uttar Pradesh

It has been argued that between I956-57 and 1970-71 real wages of agricultural workers rose in all states, with the exception of West Bengal. This rise has been attributed to the impact of the so-called Green Revolution.
The data presented in this note shows, however, that in one of the main Green Revolution regions, viz, western UP, real wages showed no tendency to rise over the period 1959-60 to 1973-71. What is more, after 1970-71, real wages declined steadily.

India’s ‘Poverty of Numbers’ Revisiting Measurement Issues

The number of “poor” derived by applying price adjustment to an old consumption basket, which is largely what official poverty measures have done, are very different from estimates based on actual consumption baskets that have changed over time. For instance, the share of cereals in household expenditure halved between1993–94 and 2011–12 in rural areas. In the light of this, we ask if all expenditure would be on food, what percentage of the population would be unable to meet the prescribed calorie requirement? Adding a “minimum” level of expenditure on clothing–bedding–footwear, fuel and light, and conveyance to the “derived” sum of food expenditure provides a second counterfactual. Similarly, the cumulative addition of expenditure on other consumer goods and services provides further counterfactual scenarios.

Female Participation Rates in Rural India

While the data on female participation rates in urban India are more reliable, one cannot ingore the issue of women’s work and employment in rural India. This paper discusses some of the issues related to female participation rates in rural India.

Section I of the paper presents the alternative estimates of female participation rates for the period 1961-81. The problems of data collection with respect to women workers and the errors that may be inherent in estimates of female participation rates are highlighted. Section II attempts to analyse inter-state differences in female participation rates and to identify the possible causal factors underlying these differences.

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