Modern Economy, 2012, 3, 766-779 Published Online October 2012 (
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
1. Introduction
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 [1]. 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 [2]. 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 [3].
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 [4].
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
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) [5] 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 [6]. 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, and
they were forcedly excluded from the society in every
respect. Even in India inter creed marriage or inter caste
marriage are not socially well conventional still now.
After the 60 years of independence the uncovered picture
of social exclusion in India is still unending in its means.
This paper has been organized as follows. In Section 2,
we discuss some literature on social exclusion and food
security. In Section 3, we have discussed the objective of
this study, where we try to analysis various definitions
and implications of food security and social exclusion
with the history of exclusion prevalent in India for a long
time, since in this paper we want to draw special atten-
tion on socially excluded peoples. In Section 4, we dis-
cuss about our methodology and data base we have used.
We try to evaluate empirically the food security status of
various socially excluded persons across the major states
of India, in Section 5. And finally conclusions and rec-
ommendations from our findings are presented in Section
2. Brief Review of Literature
According to Department for International Development
(DFID 2005) [7] on “Reducing Poverty by Tackling So-
cial Exclusion” there are various ways by which people
can be excluded from the others of the society across the
world. And DFID cited varies examples of exclusion
from the current phenomenon continuing in the world. In
this paper it has been highlighted that the social exclu-
sion promotes poverty, and as a result, poverty reduction
programs basically failed because of social exclusion.
And how social exclusion promotes poverty had been
defined as follows:
1) Social exclusion causes poverty of particular people,
leading to higher rates of poverty among affected groups;
2) Social exclusion reduces productive capacity and
rate of poverty reduction of a society as a whole.
And DFID finally suggests many policies through
which we can reduce exclusion and poverty and ulti-
mately social insecurity in all respects.
Robert Jenkins (2006) [8] pointed out that the socially
excluded section of the society namely SC/ST are not
only deprived from the common rights of the daily life
namely food, shelter, clothing but also deprived from the
right to education. He collected data from the NSSO and
NHFS-II, and after analyzing these data he concluded
that the enrolment of SC/ST students in primary schools
is too low compared to that of other classes. And obvi-
ously in higher education the ratio of SC/ST students to
those of others is declining continuously as the level of
education increases. According to Jenkins the causes of
low enrollment are: 1) lack of sufficient schools in re-
mote areas; 2) the ruthless behavior of the upper caste
teachers towards SC/ST students; 3) the pecuniary condi-
tions of the parents as the cost of education for most of
the SC/ST families are seen to be much higher than their
monthly per capita income; 4) the opportunity costs of
education for the girls are also higher than the cost of
education as they are used for working at home for the
well being of the family.
Based on data collected by NHFS-II and NSSO (60th
round) Peter Svedberg (2006) [9] has established the fact
that child nutrition in India varies among different states
between the values 22 to 56 percent. The methodology
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he applied is the multiple regression analysis with con-
trols for multi co-linearity, reverse causation and robust-
ness. It has been found in his study that the interstate
differences in child stunting are not directly correlated
with the differences in income poverty, rather it can be
better explained with the provision of child health care
along with fertility rate. Child health care provision has
been explained in terms of relative status of women in
society and household per capita income. And he has
analyzed that the larger interstate variation in fertility
was strongly related with government health expendi-
tures and household per capita income.
Amartya Sen (2000) [10] has examined critically the
idea of social exclusion, particularly in the context of
deprivation and poverty. In his analysis social exclusion
has been placed as capability deprivation, which is the
broader meaning of poverty. And this theoretical ground-
work for the approach of social exclusion will help us
extend the practical use of the approach.
Addis Ababa (September, 2009) [11] shows that in
Ethiopia more than 58% of total population were living
in absolute poverty (2007).This is because of the fact that
the impact of inflation started in 2005 and has apparently
resulted in increased food insecurity in urban areas. The
prices of cereals have been reported to increase by more
than 100% since mid 2005.
3. Objectives
The word “social exclusion” [12] comes from France,
where it was used as the basis for policy of social inclu-
sion or integrating people into society, to provide com-
mon benefits to the deprived classes of the society. Peo-
ple are excluded when they are not a part of main stream
of society in their daily life; that is, people are said to be
excluded socially when they are out of employment, com-
munity, friends and family. Also many old age, homeless,
people with aids, people with mental and physical dis-
ability, ex-prisoners are said to be at the risk of exclusion.
This is a very wide concept. On the one hand, it means
lack of opportunity for social relationship and on the
other hand, it means failure of social protection to those
dishonored socially separated people.
Exclusion comes in various ways. It primarily comes
from the division of society based on caste system and
gender biasness in the form of social sense. Exclusion
also comes from financial sector which means that finan-
cially weaker section of the society or poor people is
excluded from participating in the normal activities, such
as basic health care, higher education etc. From the labor
market when people are unemployed for a long term,
they are generally at the threat of exclusion. In many
cases we can also notice the familial exclusion also of
women who are deprived of taking the decision about the
family matters. Children with physical and mental chal-
lenge, people returning from jail, old-age people with
inability to work etc are also some examples of social
From the macroeconomic point of view exclusion
sharply focuses on rural urban discrepancies. Often we
see that in urban areas there is high rate of growth equal
to the national average rate in all sectors, but in rural
areas in every respect the progress is far below the na-
tional average. So, the fruits of economics are lion-
shared by urban people only, while the rural people are
strictly excluded from the economic progress. Even the
economic progress is not equally shared by all the states;
some states are far behind the national progress of the
economy. This implies that social exclusion and eco-
nomic exclusion are interlinked. As a matter of fact so-
cial exclusion is likely to lead to economic deprivation of
It is commonly expected that the socially excluded
people are likely to lack economic security; the most vi-
sible thing is the food insecurity of the socially excluded
people. Food security is a multi-faceted concept—va-
riously defined and interpreted. At one end of the scale,
food security implies the availability of adequate supplies
at a global and national level; at the other end, the con-
cern is with adequate nutrition and well-being. Food se-
curity as a concept originated only in the mid-1970s in
the discussions of international food problems at a time
of global food crisis. The initial focus of attention was
primarily on food supply problems of assuring the avail-
ability and to some degree the price stability of basic
foodstuffs at the international and national level. The ini-
tial focus, reflecting the global concerns of 1974, was on
the volume and stability of food supplies. Food security
was defined in the 1974 World Food Summit as “avail-
ability at all times of adequate world food supplies of
basic foodstuffs to sustain a steady expansion of food
consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and
In 1983, FAO expanded its concept to include securing
access by vulnerable people to available supplies. This
implies that attention should be balanced between the
demand for and supply of the food. With this concept in
mind, the food security equation needs to ensure that all
people at all time must have to have both physical and
economic access to the basic food they need for their
In 1986, the World Bank report “Poverty and Hunger”
focused on the temporal dynamics of food insecurity. It
introduced the widely accepted distinction between chro-
nic food insecurity, associated with problems of struc-
tural poverty and low incomes, and transitory food inse-
curity, which involved periods of intensified pressure
caused by natural disasters or economic collapse. This
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concept of food security must be substantiated by the
access of all people to sufficient food for their active and
healthy life. The 1996 World Food Summit adopted a
still more complex definition: “Food security, at the in-
dividual, household, national, regional and global levels
[is achieved] when all people, at all times, have physical
and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious
food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for
an active and healthy life”. This definition has further
been refined in the State of Food Insecurity 2001: “Food
security has a situation that exists when all people, at all
times, have physical, social and economic access to suf-
ficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary
needs and food preferences for an active and healthy
Essentially, food security can be described as a phe-
nomenon relating to individuals. It is the nutritional
status of the individual household member that is the
ultimate focus, and the risk of that adequate status not
being achieved or becoming undermined. The later risk
describes the vulnerability of individuals in this context.
As the definitions reviewed above imply that vulnerabil-
ity may occur both as a chronic and transitory phenome-
non. Useful working definitions state that food security
exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social
and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious
food which meets their dietary needs and food prefer-
ences for an active and healthy life. Household food se-
curity is the application of this concept to the family
level, with individuals within households as the focus of
concern. Food insecurity exists when people do not have
adequate physical, social or economic access to food as
defined above.
Our objectives in this study are as follows.
1) We shall examine the consumption profile of the
socially excluded people’s across the 27 major states of
India, with respect to GPI (goal post index), such that it
reflects the food security status among the various cate-
gories of the people, within the states. And
2) We examine the validity of Engels law of expendi-
ture in Indian economy, since for food secured people the
proportion of income spent on food is expected to decline
with increase in income.
4. Methodology and Database
Following Engel’s law (1821-1896) we want to see the
absolute change in MPCE on food and non-food item for
a percentage change in total MPCE, which is the proxy
for the gross monthly income of the household. Since,the
data on monthly income of the household is not abailable
we have consider total MPCE equivalent to monthly per
capita income. As we know by Engel’s law that as the
income of the people increases, the expenditure on ne-
cessity item like food will decrease. There is a close link
between food security and Engle’s law. If the family un-
der considaration has its food secure it is expected that
with an increase in income the proportionate expenditure
on food item decrease in othe words if the family has
food security, the family is likely to increase its propor-
tionate expenditure on luxary or non food iteam. There-
fore if we see emperically that the proportion of income
spend on food increases this is an indication that the fam-
ily have not got already food security. On the otherhand
if empirically it is found that the proportion of income on
non food item increases this implise that the family con-
cerned have already got food security and can effort to
spend more income on non-food item and less on food
Let y = MPCE on food and/or MPCE on non food.
x = Total MPCE and
A model that accomplishes this purpose can be written
 (1)
where the slope coefficient 2
= change in y/change in
ln x = change in y /relative change in x
We have,
This states that the absolute change in
equal to slope times the relative change in x. If the latter
is multiplied by 100, then (2) gives the absolute change
in y for a percentage change in x. Thus, if
changes by 0.01 unit (or, 1 percent), the absolute change
in y is
The variables we shall consider are presented below
MPCETOTAL: monthly per capita expenditure which is
a proxy for monthly per capita total income; MPCE-
FOOD: monthly per capita expenditure on food and
MPCENFOOD: monthly per capita expenditure on non-
food items.
Here our objective is to examine whether the slope co-
which is the absolute change in MPCE
on food or non food iteam due to 1% change in MPCE-
TOTAL will remain unalterd or not. Our null hypothesis
Against the alternative hypothesis
For the empirical estimation we have used data from
NSSO 61st round (July 2004-June 2005) for the 27 major
states in India.
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5. Food Security Status among the Socially
Excluded Persons: Results of Estimation
Since India has been suffering from both chronic food
insecurity and social exclusion, we will discuss about
how socially excluded section of the society is affected in
the form of food insecurity. We are considering the con-
sumption profile of the socially excluded people both in
rural and urban regions.
The Indian system of exclusion on the foundation of
caste has also been reflected by the NSSO report
(2004-2005). It has been exposed that near about 70 per-
cent of the Indian population are backward classes sur-
rounded by 19.59% SCs and 8.63% STs. It has been
found that 91.4% of STs and 79.8% of SCs live in rural
areas. The per capita monthly expenses of people living
in urban areas were Rs.1052.36 per month against
Rs.558.78 to those in rural areas.
According to NSSO survey all India average spending
by rural STs was the lowest at Rs.426.19, followed by
rural SCs (Rs.474.72) and OTHER (Rs.658.31). In urban
India, STs spent Rs.857.46, SCs Rs.758.38 and OTHERs
Rs.1306.10 per month on an average.
If we try to make a goal post index [13] on the basis of
monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) across the dif-
ferent states of India for different groups of people, the
interstate disparity among the socially excluded people’s
consumption status will be evident easily. Our goal post
index (GPI) is built on the formula
Actual MPCEMinimum MPCE
GPI Maximum MPCEMinimum MPCE
The value of GPI lies between 0 and 1. The states for
which the GPI value is nearly 1 are said to be more se-
cured in respect of food and also for non-food item. On
the other hand, the states for which GPI value is close to
0 are said to be more insecure in the consumption of food
and non-food item.
Now look at the below diagrams. Figure 1 shows the
GPI on MPCE on food for ST community living in the
Figure 1. GPI of food for rural ST.
rural areas and Figure 2 for urban areas for 27 major
states of India. From the above comparison of the con-
sumption profile on food of the STs in rural and urban
areas, the GPI for the state of Orissa scores zero in both
the cases. Lakshdweeep for rural areas and Jammu &
Kashmir for urban areas have scored 1 for GPI. But the
interesting fact is that among these 27 states, most of the
states have scored nearly to zero or a score slightly
greater than zero. This means that on the basis of MPCE
on food, the people in the community of ST are every-
where suffering from food insecurity.
Figures 3 and 4 show the consumption profile of SCs
on food for both in rural and urban areas. Here in both
the cases, Madhya Pradesh has scored zero; but Mizoram
for rural SCs and Lakshadweep for urban SCs have
scored 1. Surprisingly if we consider the comparison of
food profile for SC/ST in urban areas, it appears that ur-
ban SCs are more deprived than urban STs as the value
of GPI for SCs are more concentrated on a value near to
zero. But in rural areas both the communities have al-
most same position with interstate-differences only.
On the other hand, if we take a look on the consump-
tion profile of people of OTHER communities, we will
see that there is a clear difference between the expendi-
ture on food iteams of rural and urban people, as shown
below in Figures 5 and 6, where urban people are found
to be in more comfortable situation than the rural people.
In both the cases Lakshadweep has scored 1, but for the
rural areas Chatrishgarh has scored zero and for the ur-
ban areas Manipur has scored zero. From all these six
charts, it is fair to conclude that in both rural and urban
areas the people in OTHER communities are in better
position than the people in the community of STs and
SCs in respect of their MPCE on food.
Now let us have a look on the values of GPI in respect
of MPCE on the non-food items, as some non-food
iteams are also very essential for livelihood. The Charts
below show that for non-food items the values of GPI are
Figure 2. GPI of food for urban ST.
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Figure 3. GPI of food for rural SC.
Figure 4. GPI of food for urban SC.
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Figure 5. GPI of food for rural OTHERS.
Figure 6. GPI of food for urban OTHERS.
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OTHER communities for the non-food items, there is
also a very large difference between rural and urban ar-
eas (Figures 11 and 12). The values of GPI for expendi-
tures on non-food consumption items of OTHER people
in Tamil Nadu for the urban and the same in Lakshad-
weep for the rural areas are indicative of their healthy
position. But for the rural people in Assam and for the
urban people in Manipur the picture is most awful in
respect of the consumption of the non-food goods.
closer to zero for a number of states which are lesser in
number than the number of states with values of GPI
closer to zero for food items. This is evident from the
charts for food presented above. Figures 7 and 8 are the
consumption profile of non-food items for the STs in
both the rural and urban areas. We also see that Orissa
has obtained the value zero for GPI of non-food items in
both the rural and urban areas. For expenditure on both
food and non-food items the GPI has got the value 1in
Lakshadweep for rural and Jammu & Kashmir for urban
In order to measure the validity of Engels law that will
focus light on food security/insecurity, we have consid-
ered a lin-log model and regessed the MPCE of both
food and non-food goods on total MPCE which has been
considered as the measure of income in the absence of
availability of suitable data on family income. Therefore,
we proceed as follows.
For the SCs communities in non-food consumption of
both rural and urban areas the GPI shows that there is a
sharp difference of expenditure capabilities between rural
and urban areas. This is shown in Figures 9 and 10 (be-
low). In Bihar the condition of SCs is most horrible in
contrast to that of other states in the rural areas. We ob-
serve the same condition in Orissa for the urban areas. In
two states, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh the SCs of
rural areas are in comfortable position in respect of non-
food consumption profile and also this is true in Megha-
laya for the urban areas.
for food item, and
for non-food item.
But if we consider the consumption profile of the In both cases 2
represent the proportionate change
Figure 7. GPI of non-food for rural ST.
Figure 8. GPI of non-food for urban ST.
Figure 9. GPI of non-food for rural SC.
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Figure 10. GPI of non-food for urban SC.
Figure 11. GPI of non-food for rural OTHERS.
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Table 1 shows the result of our regression analysis.
All the coefficients are found to be statistically signifi-
cant at 1% level of significance. From the above analysis
in expenditure on food/non-food goods due to change in
per capita expenditure. The results of estimation are pre-
sented in Table 1.
Figure 12. GPI of non-food for urban OTHERS.
Table 1. Regreession results of our study.
Dependent Variable: Monthly per capita expenditure; Method: Least Squares; Number of observations: 27
Caste/Tribe Regressors Diagnostic Statistics
Constant LOG (TMPCE)
F-statistic D.W. statistic
ST –1397.41
SC –1413.65
OTHERS –1344.39
ST –1990.83
SC –2190.79
OTHERS –4205.95
*Significant at 5 percent level and **Significant at 1 percent level.
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
of poverty.
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 [14], 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 [15] provision for those socially ex-
cluded people can also be a very effective instrument to
achive food security from the demand side.
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