Social Development in India: Performance and Causes

  • Pradeep Agrawal
  • P. V. Srinivasan
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 5)


Indian policy-makers have traditionally emphasized poverty alleviation and social development, though the strategies used have changed over the years. And indeed, there have been significant improvements in income, education and health standards since independence in 1947. However, while there has been some progress on the social front, much more remains to be achieved. India’s progress has been slow compared to what has been achieved by many other Asian countries — especially those of East and Southeast Asia — in the same period. For example, India still ranks among the poorest thirty countries in the world. Although the percentage of poor declined from around 55% in the 1970s to 36% in the 1990s, more than 300 million people are still considered to be below the poverty line and more than 50% of children under four remain undernourished. Although literacy has almost tripled since 1951, nearly 50% of the population is still illiterate and more than 45% of children do not reach grade five. There is thus great scope for reducing the number of the poor and improving the living conditions of the people. The current debate on economic reforms and its impact on social sectors has brought into focus, once again, the issues of how different economic variables and policies affect social development in general and poverty in particular.


Social Development Real Wage Public Expenditure Poverty Reduction Poverty Alleviation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agrawal, Pradeep (1997).Do India’s Labor policies Harm Indian Workers?A Comparison with East Asia, Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 631–653.Google Scholar
  2. Agrawal, Pradeep, S. Gokarn, V. Mishra, K.S. Parikh and K. Sen, (1995).Economic Restructuring in East Asia and India: Perspectives on Policy Reforms. Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agrawal, Pradeep, S. Gokarn, V. Mishra, K.S. Parikh and K. Sen, (2000). Policy Regimes and Industrial Competitiveness: A Comparative Study of East Asia and India. Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ahluwalia, D. (1993).Public Distribution of Food in India: Coverage, Targeting andLeakages, Food Policy.Google Scholar
  5. Berman, Peter (1996). Health Care Expenditure in India, Das Gupta, Chen and Krishnan (Eds.) Health, Poverty and Development in India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. CMIE (1996).India’s Social Sectors, Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, February.Google Scholar
  7. Datt, Gaurav and Martin Ravallion (1996). Why have some Indian States done better than others a treducing rural poverty? World Bank Policy Research Working paper 1594, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  8. Dev, S. Mahendra (1997).Growth, Employment, Poverty and Human Development: An evaluation of Change in India since Independence with Emphasis on Rural Areas, Review of Development and Change, Vol.2, No. 2Google Scholar
  9. Dev, S. Mahendra, K.S. Parikh and M.H. Suryanarayana (1991).Rural Poverty in India, Incidence, Issues and Policies, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Discussion Paper No. 55.Google Scholar
  10. Drèze, Jean (1990).Poverty in India and the IRDP Delusion, Economic and Political Weekly, Review of Agriculture, vol. 25, no.39.Google Scholar
  11. Drèze, Jean and P.V. Srinivasan (1997).Widowhood and Poverty in Rural India: Some Inferences from Household Survey Data, Journal of Development Economics, vol. 54.Google Scholar
  12. Drèze, Jean and P.V. Srinivasan (1996).Poverty in India: Regional Estimates, 1987–88, DEP No. 70, STICERD, London School of Economics.Google Scholar
  13. Drèze, Jean and Sen, Amartya (1995).India: Economic Development and Social Opportunity. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  14. Dubey, Amaresh and Shubhashis Gangopadhyay (1998).Counting the poor: Where are the poor in India? Sarvekshana Analytical Report No. 1, Department of Statistics, Government of IndiaGoogle Scholar
  15. Dutta, Bhaskar, Manoj Panda and Willima Wadhwa (1997).Human Development in India, in S. Subramanian (ed.) Measurement of Inequality and Poverty. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Fan, Shenggen and Peter Hazell (1996).Should the Indian Government Invest More or Less Favored Areas? mimeo, Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute, mimeo.Google Scholar
  17. Government of India (1996). Level and Pattern of Consumer Expenditure, NSS 50th Round Report no. 402, National Sample Survey Organization, Department of Statistics, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  18. Government of India (1995).A Technical Note on theEighth Plan of India, Planning Commission, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  19. Government of India (1993). Economic Reforms: Two years After and the Task Ahead, Ministry of Finance, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  20. Hashim, S. R. (1998).Economic Growth and Income Distribution: The Indian Experience of Development, Economic and Political Weekly, March 21.Google Scholar
  21. Jain and Tendulkar (1990). Role of Growth and Distribution in the Observed Change in Poverty, Indian Economic Review, pp 165–204.Google Scholar
  22. Jha, Shikha (1992).Consumer Subsidies in India: Is Targeting Effective?Development and Change, vol. 23(4).Google Scholar
  23. Jha, Shikha and P.V. Srinivasan (1998).On Reforming the Public Distribution System in India, paper presented at the Symposium on Reforming India’s Social Sectors: Strategies and Prospects, April, BombayGoogle Scholar
  24. Kabir, M. and T.N. Krishnan (1996).Social Intermediation and Health Change: Lessons fromKerala, Das Gupta, Chen and Krishnan (Eds.) Health, Poverty and Development in India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Lall, S (1987).Learning to Industrialize: The Acquisitions of Technological Capability by India. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  26. Lall, S (1990).Building Industrial Competitiveness in Developing Countries, Paris: OECDGoogle Scholar
  27. Lanjouw, P. and Martin Ravallion (1995).Poverty and Household Size, Economic Journal, vol. 105.Google Scholar
  28. Liu, P.K.C. (1992).Science, Technology and Human Capital Formation, in GJ Ranis (ed.), Taiwan: From Developing to Mature Economy.Google Scholar
  29. McGinn, N. et. al. (1980).Education and Development in Korea. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Minhas, B.S. (1991).Educational Deprivation and its Role as a Spoiler of Access to Better Life in India, Technical Report No. 9104. New Delhi: Indian Statistical Institute.Google Scholar
  31. Murthi, Mamta, Guio, Anne-Catherine and Jean Dreze (1995).Mortality, Fertility and Gender Bias in India, Discussion Paper no. 61, Development Economics ResearchProgramme, STICERD, London School of Economics.Google Scholar
  32. Nagraj, R., A. Varoudakis and M.A. Veganzones (1997).Long Run Growth Trends and Convergence Across Indian States, OECD Development Centre, Technical Paper.Google Scholar
  33. Nehru, Swanson and Dubey (1993). A New Database on Human Capital Stock. Sources, Methodology and Results, Policy Research Working Papers, The World Bank: Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  34. Parikh, Kirit (1994).Who Gets How Much from PDS: How Effectively Does it Reach the Poor? Sarvekshana, vol. 17(3).Google Scholar
  35. Prabhu, K. Seeta and Somnath Chatterjee (1993).Social Sector Expenditure and Human Development: A Study of Indian States, DRG Study No. 6. Bombay: Reserve Bank of India.Google Scholar
  36. Prabhu, K. Seeta and Sangita Kamdar (1998).Human Poverty and Income Poverty: Linkages and Implications, paper presented at the Symposium on Reforming India’s Social Sectors: Strategies and Prospects, April, BombayGoogle Scholar
  37. Ravallion, Martin and Gaurav Datt (1996a). India’s Checkered History in the Fight against Poverty: Are there Lessons for the Future? Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 31 Special Number, September.Google Scholar
  38. Ravallion, Martin and Gaurav Datt (1996b).How important to India’s poor is thesectoral composition of Growth? World Bank Economic Review, vol.10, no. 1Google Scholar
  39. Sen, Abhijit, (1996).Economic Reforms, Employment and Poverty: Trends and Options, Economic and Political Weekly, Special Number, September.Google Scholar
  40. Sen, Tapas Kumar (1993). Public Expenditure on Human Development in India: Trends and Issues, K.S. Parikh and R. Sudarshan, eds, Human Development and Structural Adjustment. India: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  41. Shah, Parth, J. (1998).New Education Policy: Choice and Competition, Shah and Debroy (Eds.) Agenda for Change: Action Plan for the Economy, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies.Google Scholar
  42. Soedijarto et. al. (1980).Indonesia, in T.N. Postletwaite and R.M. Thomas (eds.), Schooling in the ASEAN Region, Oxford, Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  43. Srinivasan, P.V. (1997).Regional Poverty and Access to Public Services in Rural India, IRIS-India Working Paper No. 30.Google Scholar
  44. Tendulkar, Suresh D and LR Jain (1995).Economic Reforms and Poverty, Economic and Political Weekly, June 10.Google Scholar
  45. Visaria, P. (1996) Structure of Indian workforce: 1961-1994, Indian Journal ofLabour Economics, Vol. 39, No. 4.Google Scholar
  46. World Bank (1997),India: Achievement and Challenges in Reducing Poverty, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  47. World Bank (1996). India: Primary Education Achievement and Challenges, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  48. World Bank (1993).The East Asian Miracle: Economic Growth and Public Policy, Washington D.C.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pradeep Agrawal
  • P. V. Srinivasan

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations