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Chronic Poverty in India: Incidence, Causes and Policies

Aasha Kapur Mehta
Amita Shah


From Chronic poverty and development policy
Special issue of World Development (Vol. 31 Issue 3, March 2003)

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Abstract: Viewing chronic poverty in terms of extended duration, severity and multidimensional deprivation, this paper uses existing literature to draw attention to those people in India for whom poverty is intractable. Two sets of approaches are used: an area-based approach and an historically marginalized groups-based approach. The area-based approach maps the location of the chronically poor by identifying states and regions that have been especially vulnerable to poverty in terms of severity and multidimensionality. It focuses on drylands and forest-based regions. The historically marginalized groups approach draws attention to groups who have suffered multiple deprivations for long periods. Chronic poverty is disproportionately high among casual agricultural laborers, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. In conclusion, the paper briefly reviews the factors that contribute to chronic poverty and the efficacy of policies to reduce such deprivation.

Publication Type(s)

Journal Article


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