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Modern Economy, 2012, 3, 766-779
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/me.2012.36098 Published Online October 2012 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/me)
Consumption Profile of the Socially Excluded People
Maniklal Adhikary1, Khokon Sarkar2
1Department of Economics, University of Burdwan, Burdwan, India
2Department of Economics, M.U.C Women’s College, Burdwan, India
Received April 19, 2012; revised June 10, 2012; accepted June 20, 2012
People are excluded when they are not a part of main stream of society in their daily life due to caste, creed, religion
and economic condition. This indicates that the socially excluded people are customarily shunned in the zone of em-
ployment, community, friends and family. Nobody would deny that many old age people, homeless people, people with
aids, people with mental and physical disability, ex-prisoners are said to be at the risk of exclusion. In this paper we
have defined excludability in terms of castes, creed, religion, economic conditions and others. We would look into the
food security status reflected in consumption profile among those particular categories of people, in terms of their
monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) on both food and non-food items with the help of NSSO 61st round data.
Based on goal post index the consumption pattern of the socially excluded people across different states of India has
been made evident. We have also tested the Engels law, and it has been found empirically accepted. Contrasted with the
situation of other caste people the food security status of the socially excluded people has been found to be placed at
all-time low level.
Keywords: Social Exclusion; Food Security; Monthly per Capita Expenditure; Engels Law
India suffers from chronic food insecurity and social ex-
clusion from the very beginning. But the problems of
exclusion are far older than the problems of food insecu-
rity. Food insecurity and social exclusion are the two
faces of the same coin as both prevail in the society si-
multaneously . The problem of food insecurity has
even been found to exist in its full strength since inde-
pendence. But the problems of exclusion were prevalent
from the ancient era of the Indian society.
In a society food insecurity exists when all people at
all time do not have safe, sufficient and nutritious food
for their active and healthy life. That is, from the supply
point of view it indicates the lack of availability, and
from the demand side it reflects the lack of purchasing
power . On the other hand social exclusion exists when
some people do not have the same opportunity to lead an
equal healthy life as others of the society due to some
social obligations. Both these problems are multifaceted
and so we cannot define them in a single word. In some
cases food insecurity gives birth to social exclusion and
in some other cases social exclusion leads to food inse-
curity; also sometimes both food insecurity and social
exclusion grow simultaneously .
From the emergence of the concept of food security,
various methods have been introduced by various authors
to measure the actual number of food insecure persons.
Food insecurity exists in almost all society in India, but it
is very prominent amongst socially excluded classes.
Here we are taking monthly per capita expenditure of the
various communities of the people as a proxy measure to
reflect on food insecurity/security. From Engel’s law of
expenditure pattern, we know that as the income of the
person increases his expenditure on necessary commo-
dity (especially on food) decreases. This implies that the
demand curve as income increases will be backward
bending to the necessary commodity axis. So obviously
for those who are not at the level of the food security,
their consumption pattern should not follow this law.
And it is evident that the socially excluded people e.g.
SC/ST population suffer more chronic food insecurity
than the others .
India is the largest democratic country in the world. It
has also a large history of social exclusion. The exclusion
among the Indians started from the Vedic period, where
the people were separated in some caste according to
their livelihood and living style. The people those who
belonged to the lower caste were deprived and exploited
in the society and this has not yet changed significantly.
Long after independence the classism, which was the
main cause of exclusion in traditional past period con-
tinued still in a different manner. And it became the main
feature of the Indian society; especially caste became the
opyright © 2012 SciRes. ME
M. ADHIKARY, K. SARKAR 767
main pillar of identity in The Hindu society. So, caste
becomes the main factor of exclusion or inclusion in the
various economic activities like production, distribution
or any gainful job to a particular person. The Hindu caste
system looks like a Pyramid structure where majority of
the lower caste were kept at the bottom of the Pyramid
and forced to serve to the upper caste. As Dr. Ambedkar
(1979)  truly said that by the Hindu social system the
communities are placed in an ascending scale of respect
and a descending scale of hatred.
In an Anthropological Survey of India (ASI) K. S.
Singh, Published many papers entitled as “the People of
India”, which identified 2800 castes including 450 SC,
461 ST, and 766 OBC. In our country, all major assets of
production are owned by the upper caste people and
lower strata of the society that particularly includes de-
pressed classes (SC/ST) is the section of people without
asset. The unequal distribution of wealth compels the
depressed classes to depend on the upper classes for their
survival. This is the main reason of socio-economic ex-
ploitation and exclusion in India.
So, the socially excludable sections of the society in
India are SC/ST and they are called Dalit. Their eco-
nomic conditions are being wear and tear gradually.
Generally they are working in the unorganized sector and
their socio-economic conditions are miserable as pointed
out in various commissions’ reports appointed by the
Government of India. It has been found that though India
is on the path of high economic growth, its number of
people live below the poverty line. It is a matter of dis-
appointment that still 79 per cent of unorganized workers,
88 percent of SC/ST population, 80 per cent of OBC and
84 percent of Muslims belong to the poor and vulnerable
group . They are living in social insecurity, insanitary
environment and excruciating conditions.
In India women are also excluded from socio eco-
nomic status from the very beginning of the Indian cul-
ture. They were excluded from the basic education, ac-
tive participation in labour force, and political participa
tion in taking decision for family welfare. They are also
excluded from the property right in Hindu bequest sys-
tem. In India it was also not permitted for the widows to
marry again; so after being widow for them there were
no means of subsistence for their daily necessity, an class="t m0 x48 h11 yed ff3 fsa fc0 sc0 ls7 ws0">163.27
*Significant at 5 percent level and **Significant at 1 percent level.
M. ADHIKARY, K. SARKAR
we can say that for the 1% boost in the MPCE, the ex-
penditure on food increases by Rs.2.74 for STs, Rs.2.75
by SCs and Rs.2.63 by OTHERS (approximately). And
for the 1% boost in the MPCE, the expenditure on
non-food items increases by Rs.3.56 for STs, Rs.3.87 for
SCs and Rs.6.96 for OTHERS (approximately). As we
know by the Engels law of expenditure that as the in-
come of a person increases his expenditure on food de-
creases as he tries to consume more of luxary commodi-
ties, from the above analysis we see that for every cate-
gory of the people the expenditure on food increases as
the per capita expenditure increases. So, we may con-
clude that those people of India are still suffering from
the chronic food insecurity, and these socially excluded
people are in depths of despair than others.
6. Conclusions and Recomondations
In this study our first objective was to see the position of
socially excluded people across the 27 major states of
India in both rural and urban areas. After analysing the
GPI on the basis of MPCE, we observe the uneven dis-
tribution of income as well as per capita expenditure
among the states between the rural and urban areas
within the various categories of the people. So, we would
like to state that the Government should takes special
cares for these states, which are in an awkward position
In rural urban circumstances there is also a sharp dif-
ference in respect of MPCE on both food and non-food
goods, and so measures relating to increase in per capita
income of the household through appropriate employ-
ment generation in the rural areas should be taken. This
will likely to result in the reduction of the difference be-
tween rural urban MPCE.
For the various categories of the people, especially for
the socially excluded communities, their MPCE for both
food and non-food goods are alawys lower in compari-
sion to that of others for every state. So, it is also very
important to provide them with special facilities in re-
spect of income/expenditure, so that the gap between
social inclusion and exclusion in respect of MPCE can be
For the effective validation of Engels law which fo-
cuses on the issue of food security, India first needs to
reach the position in food security not only from the sup-
ply side but also from the demand side. In supply side
though, India can claim that she has achived food secu-
rity but from the demand side it is far from being satis-
factory, especially, for those of her socially excluded
communities, who are unable to attain the effective de-
mand everywhere in every respect.
In order to create effective demand through these ex-
cluded people India needs some job oriented programmes.
Although some job oriented programmes like PMRY,
NREGA , 100 days work etc. are running all over
India, their effective implimentation are very poor in
some states and also in some states their performance is
Micro finance  provision for those socially ex-
cluded people can also be a very effective instrument to
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