Estimates based on SECC and NSS data have different purposes



JULY 20 2015



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Poverty estimates provide the proportion and size of the poor population and their spread across states and broad regions. But they can’t be used for identification of the individual poor. (Illustration by: C R Sasikumar) – / Picture from Indian Express

Recently, the government released data from the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011. There has been comment that hereafter, we need not have consumption-based poverty estimates using NSS (National Sample Surveys) data. It is thought that

SECC data will alone be enough to estimate poverty and deprivation. Here, we briefly examine the differences between the two and clarify that NSS consumption-based poverty estimates are still relevant. SECC-based estimates are important, but no substitutes for NSS-based poverty ratios.

In India, we have a long history of studies on the measurement of poverty. The methodology for the estimation of poverty used by the erstwhile Planning Commission was based on recommendations made by various expert groups. In June 2012, the government of India appointed an expert group (with C. Rangarajan as chairman) to take a fresh look at the methodology for the measurement of poverty.

The Rangarajan expert group has gone back to the idea of separate poverty line baskets for rural and urban areas, unlike the Tendulkar Committee, which took urban poverty as a given and used it as the common basket for rural and urban households. In defining the consumption basket separating the poor from the rest, the new expert group took the view that it should contain a food component…continue reading



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