India undercounts its poor
Critics are wrong when they say poverty has not declined. However, they are right, unknowingly though, when they say that the Planning Commission has not been entirely forthcoming about how it arrived at the poverty estimates it put out last week.
The commission seems to have quietly tweaked the consumption data for 2009-10 used to estimate poverty. Hence, not only has it undercounted the poor in 2009-10 by some 18 million, it has also made it difficult to compare the poverty numbers with previous years—unless they too are adjusted similarly.
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