Poverty in Rajasthan

Poverty in Rajasthan

There has been poverty in all societies over a long period. In India however poverty is a major problem. In recent times there has been an acceptance of poverty as a social problem. India with the coming of independence has made some efforts to raise the level of income of people living in poverty. Situation in Rajasthan is not different from rest of India, Poverty in Rajasthan is also a social problem.

Definitions of Poverty:

United Nations:

United Nations defines two types of Poverty, one is absolute poverty and other is relative poverty. It considers Absolute poverty as poverty in relation to the amount of money necessary to meet basic fields such as food, clothing, and shelter. While, it defines relative poverty as poverty in relation to the economic status of other members of the society: people are poor if they fall below prevailing standards of living in a given societal context.

World Bank:

World Bank uses the same methodology as United Nations for defining poverty line using material income or consumption  as the basis. The bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US$1.90 per day and moderate poverty as less than $3.10 a day.

National Methodology for estimating Poverty

1. Pre independence poverty estimates:

  • First of all done by Dada Bhai Naroji. His method was based on cost of subsistence diet i.e ‘rice or flour, dhal, mutton, vegetables, ghee, vegetable oil and salt’.
  • Next, in 1938, the National Planning Committee Like the earlier method, they also formulated poverty line based on a minimum standard of living.

2. Post independence poverty estimates:

The Planning Commission used to measures poverty using methodology recommended by expert groups that it constituted from time to time. The data estimates came from the consumer expenditure surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).

  • In 1962, the Planning Commission constituted a working group to estimate poverty nationally, and it formulated separate poverty lines for rural and urban areas – of Rs 20 and Rs 25 per capita per year respectively.
  • In 1971 VM Dandekar and N Rath made the first systematic assessment of poverty in India, based on National Sample Survey (NSS) data from 1960-61. First time the concept of poverty on basis of calorie consumption was brought to lime light. Their poverty line was to be derived from the expenditure that was adequate to provide 2250 calories per day in both rural and urban areas.
    Shortcoming: The consumption requirement for male female and urban rural labour is completely different from one another.
  • Alagh Committee (1979): In 1979, seprated both poverty lines and calorie consumption based on rural and urban requirements. For subsequent years Poverty Lines were to be calculated in accordance with inflation.
Rural 2400 cal – Rs 49
Urban 2100 cal – Rs 56


  • Lakdawala Committee (1993): Added more features and made above more efficient
    • (i) consumption expenditure based on calorie consumption as earlier;
    • (ii) first time state specific poverty lines were constructed and these were to updated using CPI-IW (industrial worker) in urban areas and CPI-AL (agri labour) in rural areas. Meaning : PL for all states separately and for country also.  This assumes that the basket of goods and services used to calculate CPI-IW and CPI-AL reflect the consumption patterns of the poor.
  • Tendulkar Committee (2009): In 2009, a Planning Commission expert group, chaired by Suresh Tendulkar, reviewed the methodology for poverty estimation and suggested changes to the way poverty is measured. The committee recommended four major changes:
    • (i) A shift away from calorie consumption based poverty estimation;
    • (ii). A uniform Poverty Line Basket across rural and urban India;
    • (iii) A change in the price adjustment procedure to correct spatial and temporal issues with price adjustment; and
    • (iv)An incorporation of private expenditure on health and education while estimating poverty.
  • The Committee recommended using Mixed Reference Period based estimates, as opposed to Uniform Reference Period based estimates that were used in earlier methods for estimating poverty.
    Mixed Reference Vs Uniform reference Poverty line
  • Rangarajan Committee: In 2012, the Planning Commission constituted a new expert panel on poverty estimation.  The Committee submitted its report in 2014.
  • After Rangarajan Report in 2014, NITI Aayog constituted a task force for finding a new suitable approach to poverty line in India.

Definition & Measurement of Poverty in Rajasthan

National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM)

NRLM is a poverty alleviation programme implemented by Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India in 2011. NRLM gives a new approach of identifying poor through the poor itself, it believes that the poor can be identified using a participatory approach by the community. NRLM  divides population into 3 categories:

  • Very Poor (family income less than Rs. 50,000 per annum)
  • Poor (family income Rs. 50.000 and less than 1 lakh per annum) &
  • Non – poor (family income greater than 1 lakh per annum).

National Food Security Act (NFSA 2013) Method

Rajasthan was one of the first state to implement NFSA, it had already set the criteria for beneficiaries and completed the process of selection on 20 September 2013.  Four task forces were appointed by Government of Rajasthan among which two were related to decision making for criteria aimed at rural and urban areas, third to decide the supplementary nutrition for rural and urban areas, and the fourth for the requisite implementation process at district level.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria for Rural areas:

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria for Urban areas:

Conclusion for Poverty Measurement:

The NITI Aayog Task Force discussed and evaluated all methods of poverty measurement mentioned above. After discussion, it was decided that identification using indicators of National Food security act (NFSA) is most suitable for the estimation of poverty in Rajasthan.

Scenario of Poverty in Rajasthan

Rajasthan is the 7th most populous state in India. Since 2005, the state has made progress in poverty reduction supported by faster growth. In addition, consumption inequality increased only marginally in this period. As a result, Rajasthan stands out among India’s low-income states.

State of Poverty in Rajasthan
Source: World Bank Report

As per the poverty estimates released by Govt. of India for 2011-12, Punjab has the lowest poverty ratio followed by Kerala and Andhra Pradesh among the select 15 states, Madhya Pradesh has the highest poverty ratio followed by Orissa & Bihar, Rajasthan with 16% population below poverty line falls in middle with 7th rank. This shows that in Rajasthan 16% of the rural population has monthly per capita expenditure below Rs. 905 (Poverty Line of rural Rajasthan = Rs. 905) which makes it a non BIMARU State.

Elimination of Poverty in Rajasthan

Livelihood Related:


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