Poverty Matters: Covering Deprivation in India
K. Nagaraj with Nalini Rajan
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Driven by competitive pressures and commercial considerations, the media rarely covers stories of deprivation today. And when it does, facts, causes and effects often give way to sensationalism, largely because of a lack of understanding of the issue.

Poverty Matters brings together a series of lectures delivered by K. Nagaraj between 2000–16 at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, as part of the college’s signature course, titled ‘Covering Deprivation’. The book explains why deprivation is not merely economic but also cultural, social and political, and how the removal of deprivation leads to empowerment and access to material goods and welfare benefits. It describes the methods of measuring poverty and argues for the importance of considering various human development indices in studying deprivation.

This book envisions a primary role of the media in ensuring that the poor participate fully in the democratic processes of the country. In the last part, it includes an appeal to the Indian government to provide the necessary welfare benefits to the poor, and thereby strengthen the democratic fabric of the nation.

By carefully explaining the complicated issues around deprivation in a simple and lucid manner, this book goes beyond addressing students of journalism. Students and scholars of economics, development studies and sociology will also greatly benefit from this work that introduces and broadens the concept of deprivation.

K. Nagaraj is Visiting Professor, Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai.

Nalini Rajan is Professor and Dean of Studies, ACJ.

List of Abbreviations

Editor’s Note

PART I Introducing Deprivation
1. Covering Affluence
2. Crying Wolf: The Adverse Effects of Sensationalism
3. Confronting Numbers

PART II Measuring Poverty
4. Reference Period, HCR and the Calorific Norm
5. Direct and Indirect Methods
6. Rigging the Data
7. Tendulkar Committee Report

PART III Broadening the Concept of Deprivation
8. Human Development Index
9. Health
10. Gender
11. Literacy

PART IV Causes of Deprivation
12. Theory of Comparative Advantage
13. The Population Conundrum

Conclusion The Way Forward 

Substantiated Storytelling | Economic & Political Weekly, New Delhi, 17 August 2019
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