Corruption has declined since the 1991 reforms
This myth challenges not only the link between reforms and growth but the link between growth and poverty, by asserting that poverty did not decline after the acceleration of growth subsequent to the post-1991 reforms. According to the Planning Commission data, at the traditional poverty line, the India-wide absolute number of poor was 323 million in 1983, 320 million in 1993-94 and 302 million in 2004-05. Presumably, therefore, the number of poor has at best declined marginally.
Once popularised by the World Bank, going by the absolute number of poor is nevertheless a flawed method of measuring the evolution of poverty in the face of a rising population. This approach to measuring poverty will in fact downplay the decline in poverty because it does not distinguish between the changes in the absolute and in the relative or proportionate number of poor. This biases the poverty measure towards exaggerating poverty. One might therefore conclude cynically that the biased measure was popular at the World Bank and diffused to the client nations, so as to increase the alarm over poverty, and bolster the critiques of a reforms-oriented developmental strategy.
Shifting, however, to the ‘proportionate’ measure of poverty, we get a more meaningful insight into what happened to it. According to Planning Commission estimates, the proportion of the population below the poverty line in India was 44.5% in 1983. Between 1983 and 2004-05, the
Be the first to comment.