Poverty in Rural West Bengal: Trend Over Four Decades

Part of the India Studies in Business and Economics book series (ISBE)


Poverty is generally conceptulised as the inability of an individual to attain some basic needs of life or to secure a normative minimum level of living. The basic needs consist of food and non-food requirements and those who are unable to attain so are considered to be poor. In reality, the concept of poverty is viewed from a wider angle. The basic requirements primarily include the levels of income and consumption. Apart from these, it not only covers the health and education but also takes into account the vulnerability and risks; marginalisation and exclusion of the poor from the mainstream of society. So the concept of poverty is multidimensional. In 1962 an Official Working Group defined the normative minimum for the first time and subsequently reviewed by several Expert Groups in 1979 (Alagh), 1993 (Lakdawala), 2009 (Tendulkar) and in 2014 (Rangarajan) and they tried to find out the percentage of people living below the so called poverty line both in rural and urban India. The estimates reveal that in West Bengal rural poverty showed a declining trend in the last four decades since the 1970s. This chapter deals with the nature and extent of poverty in rural West Bengal during the last four decades, taking into account the poverty estimates of the different Expert Groups. It ends up with some kind of an analytical decomposition of the changes in rural poverty into growth and inequality effects on the basis of poverty and inequality estimates done by Jha in (Economic and Political Weekly, 35(11):921–928, 2000).


Poverty line HCR Gini coefficient Mean consumption Growth effect Inequality effect 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.S.R. Lahiri MahavidyalayaNadiaIndia

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