Trends in urban poverty under economic reforms: 1993-94 to 2004-05

Urban poverty, when directly measured by counting the persons unable to access the official nutrition norm of 2,100 calories through their total monthly spending on all goods and services, declined between 1983 and 1993-94, but rose substantially between 1993-94 and 2004-05 while poverty depth has increased. This is particularly evident in the states with the conurbations of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, while states with smaller urban centres have fared better. This paper presents the estimates for urban areas at the all-India level and the individual states. The official method has been underestimating actually existing urban poverty in the same manner that rural poverty has been underestimated. The energy intake accessible at the all-India official urban poverty line has fallen to 1,795, but in many states it is below 1,450 calories at the state-specific official poverty lines. The data also record a small decline in average protein intake and a small rise in fat intake per capita over the same period.

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