This is a continuation of an earlier paper (2005) by the author which dealt with policy implications based on the work done by CPRC in India. We do not yet have a map of chronic poverty in India, but have an approximate idea of numbers and communities where it has a significant presence. We have used surrogates like tribal populations, senior citizens and women self-help groups to draw broad conclusions. We feel these are unlikely to be invalidated if work is done in the future using more precise data about the chronically poor in India.
Poverty alleviation programmes in India have tried four approaches: citizen's rights in the Employment Guarantee Act, contractual commercial relations in joint forest management, cocreation of value in micro credit and welfare transfers in pension schemes for the elderly. The structural problems in all of these are similar, indicating that there is a need to rethink the policy making philosophy.
Post positivist policy analysis and evaluation, which advocates participatory policy making and provides voice to the concerned citizens outside the administrative structures, could provide some useful guidance. The recent experience with the National Employment Guarantee Act of India seems to indicate that mere design excellence, including provision of legal rights, is no solution for ensuring the delivery of entitlements. Traditional public administration systems need to be tempered by powerful community countervail, which is not always easy to build.
CPRC Working Paper No. 113, Chronic Poverty Research Centre, London, UK, ISBN: 978-1-906433-14-7, 34 pp.