Date of Submission


Date of Award


Institute Name (Publisher)

Indian Statistical Institute

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Subject Name

Quantitative Economics


Economic Research Unit (ERU-Kolkata)


Bhattacharya, Nikhilesh (ERU-Kolkata; ISI)

Abstract (Summary of the Work)

The present dissertation consists of several studies on disparities in level of living and poverty in rural India. These studies are based on a special tabulation of disaggregated household budget data, from the Central Sample of the Indian National Sample Survey (NSS) 28th round (october 1973- June 1974). This was based on a copy of the updated Honey- well tape provided by the authorities of the NSS Organisation, Government of India. Two of the main aims of this dissertation are to study disparities in level of living and incidence of poverty across (1) Social groups, such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, etc. and across (ii) NSS regions which are well defined geographical units typically larger than districta, but smaller than states.This dissertation consists of seven Chapters and five Appendices. The contents of these Chapters and Appendices are briefly summarised below.Chapter 1 presents a survey of the literature on inequality, level of living and poverty. This Chapter is divided into two parts. The first part surveys methodolo- gical aspects while the second reviews empirical studies with special reference to India. Section 1. 1.1 of Part I of Chapter 1 is introductory. Section 1. 1.2 deals with various conceptual issues on the measurement of income/ expenditure inequality. Sections 1. 1. 3 and 1. 1.4 survey the inequality and poverty measures proposed in the literature, respectively. They discuss the properties of different in- equality and poverty measures, and also describe the methodology of decomposition of inequality and poverty measures carried out in some of the following Chapters. Section 1. 2. 1 of Part II of Chapter 1 is again introductory. Section 1. 2. 2 surveys some major studies on inequality and poverty found in the international literature. The remaining Sections relate to Indian studies. Section 1.2.3 surveys studies on income distribution in India. Sections 1. 2. 4 and 1. 2.5 review studies on level of living and incidence of poverty in India, respectively. Finally, Section 1. 2.6 deals with two economically weaker sections of the Indian population - the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes whose level of living and poverty have been examined in subsequent chapters. Sub- section 1. 2.6.1 gives a brief account of the Scheduled Castea and Scheduled Tribes. And, lastly, sub-section 1. 2. 6. 2 surveys studies on level of living and poverty of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.Chapter 2 describes the data analyzed in the present dissertation. This Chapter consists of six sections. Section 2.1 gives an introduction.Section 2. 2 describes the scope, coverage and design of the NSS 28th round consumer expenditure inquiry and outlines the method of estimation. Section 2. 3 compares the sample sizes and mean per capital expenditures for rural India by States as obtained from this special tabulation with corresponding figures published by the NSSO, Section 2.4 describes the variables used in the present dissertation, while Section 2. 5. discusses the reliability and validity of NSS household budget data. Finally, Section 2. 6 gives a brief description of different consumer price indies used for making price adjustments in various parts of this study.


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