Aadisht Khanna did a remarkably detailed analysis of NSS (National Sample Survey) data here. This data is about the consumption of various foodstuffs; in particular, how patterns of such consumption in the rural areas and among the poor has changed over the last couple of decades. Aadisht's whole aim is to refute the argument made by Utsa Patnaik in an article in the Hindu. Patnaik takes NSS data that shows the rural poor are eating less grain than they were doing before our liberalization process, and claims: Rural India is in deep and continuing distress, and in village India ... calorie intake per head continues to decline.
Aadisht contests this, and Patnaik's use of this data to severely criticize liberalization. He writes: There is a decline in rice and wheat consumption, and also in the consumption of dal ... But at the same time, the consumption of other stuff has risen.
His logic is clear, his arguments are persuasive.
Then he concludes his analysis with these sentences: the consumption of people in the lowest five income percentiles has also increased - even the poor are better off. How much better off? On average, about six eggs a year. [My emphasis]
This stopped me in my tracks. After fifteen years of liberalization, the poor eat one extra egg every two months, and that's "better off"? As I wrote to Aadisht, this seems to me to be a damning of liberalization and the reforms themselves.
Aside: this is what prompted my earlier Egg a week.