The book examines India’s experience with poverty reduction in
a period of rapid economic growth. Marshalling evidence from multiple
sources of survey data and drawing on new methods, the book asks how
India’s structural transformation - from rural to urban, and from
agriculture to nonfarm sectors - is impacting poverty.
Our analysis suggests that since the early 1990s, urban growth has
emerged as a much more important driver of poverty reduction than in
the past. We focus in particular on the role of small and medium size
conurbations in India, both as the urban sub-sector in which urban
poverty is overwhelmingly concentrated, and as a sub-sector that could
potentially stimulate rural-based poverty reduction. Second, in rural
areas, we focus on the nature of intersectoral transformation out of
agriculture into the nonfarm economy. Stagnation in agriculture has
been accompanied by dynamism in the nonfarm sector, but there is much
debate about whether the growth seen has been a symptom of agrarian
distress or a source of poverty reduction.
Finally, alongside the accelerating economic growth and the highly
visible transformation that is occurring in India’s major cities,
inequality is on the rise. This is raising concern that economic growth
in India has by-passed significant segments of the population. The
third theme on social exclusion asks if, despite the dramatic growth,
historically grounded inequalities along lines of caste, tribe and
gender have persisted.
This book would be of interest for policymakers, researchers,
non-governmental organizations, and international agencies—from
India and abroad--who wish to know more about India’s experience
of the last two decades in reducing poverty.
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