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Urban-rural gap grows

business Updated: Jul 08, 2011 23:52 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
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The Government’s inclusive growth story has benefited urban India more than rural India years in the last five years – indicating that economic divide between the richest and the poorest in the country has widened.

The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), the government’s data collecting wing, on Friday released its 66th round of quinquennial survey for monthly household expenditure for the year 2009-10, having average rural spending at Rs 1,053 and urban spending at Rs 1984.

The new survey when compared with a similar survey in 2004-05 showed that the average monthly expenditure in urban India increased by Rs 832 as compared to just Rs 492 in rural India. It resulted in rural urban difference in monthly per capita expenditure being 88 % in 2009-10.

India report card on Millennium Development Goals 2015

Poverty and hunger : India was expected to half its poverty from 51 % in 1990.
MDG Report : On track; to reduce poverty to 22 % by 2015 but marginalized left out of the growth story.


Achieve universal primary education:
MDG report: India has almost all children enrolled in schools.


Reduce child mortality by two third
MDG report : India is lagging behind on child malnutrition with 45-50 % children under five still malnourhsed.


Improve maternal health
MDG report: India still has second highest maternal mortality despite advances.


Ensure Environment sustainability
MDG report: India failed to reduce bio-diversity loss and prevent depleting of marine resources. Also, climate change causing emissions from India are on the rise.


Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women: End disparity in education by 2015.
MDG Report: India slow as 95 % girls enrolled in primary education, 89 % in secondary education and 74 % in tertiary education. Fewer than five paid jobs outside agriculture sector were held by women.


Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
MDG report : New HIV/AIDS infections are declining but lot needs to be done to combat other diseases.

“The lesser increase in expenditure in rural India was because of the worst drought in 30 years during the survey period,” said Pranob Sen, former chief statistician of India and principal advisor in Planning Commission. “Drought’s impact in urban India was on prices resulting in higher expenditure”.

The survey, however, shows that income in urban India increased much more than in rural India despite the Government introducing Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Programme aimed at improving incomes and providing social security.

Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University blamed the failure of the government schemes to improve quality of life of the lowest on the poverty ladder. Her view has been collaborated in the survey, which shows that monthly expenditure of the poorest 10 % has increased by only Rs 200 in the last five years.

“There is a need to start targeted programmes for the poorest,” a planning commission official said.

The survey’s finding of widened expenditure disparity between the richest and the poorest, especially in rural India, has surprised the economists as it indicates the economic benefits of the UPA’s growth story not spreading equally.

In urban areas, the difference in monthly expenditure between the richest 10 % and the poorest 10 % increased from 4.8 times in 2005-04 to 9.8 times in 2009-10. Rural India witnessed a lesser hike in this expenditure difference with 3.2 times in 2004-05 to 5.6 times in 2009-10.

Sen said disparity in rich-poor expenditure in rural India was a reason of worry as expenditure levels in villages across different income groups were considered to be stable.