IDENTIFICATION OF THE POOR

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Apart from self-targeting and the use of broad targeting, which focuses on

particular categories of activities rather than their users, other forms of

targeting, by defi nition, require inclusion and exclusion criteria, so that the

poor can be separated from the non-poor. However, collecting accurate data

on income or consumption is diffi cult. The use of modern ‘poverty mapping’

techniques, which combine data from household surveys (which allow a link

between consumption levels and various household characteristics) with

data from population censuses which collect detailed location-based data

on households, is very recent for our country cases.7 Hence in practice up to

very recently all of the countries used approximate indicators for identifying

the poor; for example various basic need measures or rough estimates of

average income in a particular village or larger unit.

In India there was a serious effort in the 1990s at administrative

identifi cation of the poor as a means of targeting principally the food and

other subsidies from the public distribution system. As income estimates were

uncertain, other additional criteria included housing conditions, number

of family earners, land access and ownership of livestock and consumer

durables. State governments had the responsibility for identifying the poor,

although the process was slow and incomplete and even where surveys were

undertaken identifi cation cards were not provided to a signifi cant number

of poor families.8

In Indonesia receipt of food subsidies was determined by the classifi cation

scheme of the National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN),

which covers households nationally. This classifi ed households into a

number of categories on the basis of criteria including food consumption

patterns, access to health care and possession of alternative sets of clothing.

In response to the impact of the Crisis of 1998–99 additional economic

criteria were added; the poorest category covered households that failed

any one of the following;

• all family members are normally able to eat at least twice a day;

• all family members have different types of clothing for home, work

or school;

• the largest section of the fl oor of the family home is not made of

earth;

• sick children are able to receive modern medical attention and women

have access to family planning services.

However, administration of the food subsidy program showed

both a disappointingly high leakage rate to the non-poor and high

undercoverage.9

Village-based programs were also an important part of targeted poverty

measures in Indonesia. Here poor villages were designated using a scoring

system covering social and economic characteristics, including infrastructure,

housing and population. Classifi cation of a village as poor (‘neglected’) was

based on a combination of its position relative to the provincial average and

a subjective assessment from a fi eld inspection by local offi cials. By this twin

approach, 31 per cent of villages in the country were classed as neglected

in 1993. Within these villages village leaders appear to have had a major

infl uence on how program funds were allocated (Perdana and Maxwell,

Chapter 3 in this volume).

In PRC geographic targeting has been the key approach with (up to

2001) poor counties being the basic units for central government poverty

reduction funds. Although originally when the poor county designation

system was initiated in 1986 the aim was to base this on average per capita

income of rural residents, this came to be superseded by other criteria, with

counties in areas of Revolutionary bases and minority communities, as well

as pastoral areas, receiving the ‘poor’ designation despite the fact that their

income per capita was well above the initial norm.10 The re-designation of

counties in 1993 was again intended to apply an income criterion, based

on an estimated national poverty line, and although many poor counties

were added to the list, since few counties were dropped, many (266 out of

592) counties still did not conform to the income criterion (Wang, Chapter

4 in this volume). Within poor counties offi cials could have discretion in

allocating poverty reduction funds.

In 2001 the focus shifted from ‘poor county’ to ‘poor village’ designation,

so that in principle poor villages could receive poverty funding even if they

were not located within a poor county. Poor village designation was carried

out using a weighted poverty index generated by the scores under various

indicators; grain production per person year; cash income per person year;

percentage of poor quality houses; percentage of households with access to

potable water, electricity and all-weather roads; percentage of women with

long-term health problems; and percentage of children attending school.

Weights for these indicators in different counties should be determined by

groups of villagers in a participatory manner. Within a village, in the absence

of fi rm income data, again a participatory approach is recommended to

identify who are poor and therefore eligible for poverty reduction funds.

County governments have responsibility for the implementation of the

system.

In Thailand poverty estimates have traditionally been based on income

and expenditure data from the Socio-Economic Survey of the National

Economic and Social Development Board. Poverty is concentrated heavily

in the rural areas particularly in the North East (with 60 per cent of the

offi cially estimated poor in 2000). In principle regional targeting of poverty

funds should have been important but as we discuss further below there is

only a very weak correlation between provincial incomes and the allocation

of central government expenditure. In addition, the education loans program

in particular does not appear to have been carefully targeted, since education

institutions themselves were left to decide who was a poor student (Warr

and Sarntisart, Chapter 5 in this volume).

In the Philippines again location targeting was signifi cant with priority

provinces identifi ed for most schemes; within these provinces the most

depressed districts (barangays) were to be the main benefi ciaries. For the

Care for the Poor program, the fl agship of the Estrada administration, there

was a fi ner screening of the benefi ciaries within priority provinces with

attempts made to identify the poorest families in particular areas. Where

feasible, poverty was defi ned in terms of unmet basic needs (in terms of

shelter, health and education, for example). Where data were unavailable,

local social workers were consulted in the identifi cation of the poor. More

recent initiatives of the Arroyo administration, which provide support to

local communities, combine a location targeting approach with poverty

mapping within provinces. Provinces were ranked by poverty incidence and

approximately the poorest half were deemed eligible. Within provinces the

poorest 25 per cent of municipalities are selected using a poverty map. All

districts within the chosen municipalities can receive funds.11