Lord Meghnad Desai Delivers ADRI Foundation Lecture
From 05-09-2014 To 05-09-2014
Patna, September 5. We may try and study actual lives of the ordinary
families poor as well as not so poor and see how they cope with shocks. Poor
families are as different from each other as the rest of us. Reducing all to a number
may be convenient for bureaucracy to publish statistics, but lives can be
bettered only by understanding in detail how those lives are lived. We do not
know enough about how the poor cope with and survive despite many vicissitudes.
These views were given by Lord Meghnad Desai, an eminent economist and writer,
while delivering the ADRI Foundation Lecture today on 'Can Poverty Ever Be
Desai said that we have had many debates about how to define poverty. India has
had an ongoing National Sample Survey of family expenditure wherein there is a
poverty level based on a calorific
count standard (later augmented by Suresh Tendulkar) which gives us the head
count of poverty. Estimates of the poverty rate in India can range from 22 up
to 80 percent depending on whether you take Tendulkar, World Bank or Arjun
Sengupta as your measuring rod.
Desai further reiterated two more salient facts. One is that the poverty rate
seems to go up as countries get richer in terms of total as well as per capita
income. There is also the disturbing fact that among the most developed
countries there is still a sizable head count of people below the poverty line.
He therefore asserted that in any society, where the poverty line is income
elastic, it would be difficult to reduce
the poverty count, much less abolish
opined that any economy that claims to have abolished poverty is failing due to
lack of ambition. An alternative strategy would be to stay within modest limits
and have several milestones along the way.
the outset Dr. Shaibal Gupta, Member-Secretary, ADRI welcomed the guests and
Professor Anjan Mukherji introduced the speaker. Shri Nitish Kumar, former
Chief Minister of Bihar presided over the function and delivered the presidential
address and Professor Prabhat P. Ghosh, Director, ADRI, proposed a vote of