Bhalla does not address the detailed arguments by Minhas against this sort of adjustment, nor Kulsheshtra and Kar’s demonstration of the inferiority of the numbers that Bhalla treats as correct compared with those that he rejects. Indeed, Bhalla does not reference their papers.Further, Bhalla compares data across surveys that are incomparable, to prove his point.
Bhalla’s argument that there has been no increase in inequality is based on measures that appear to be taken directly from the unadjusted 1999–2000 survey, and are compared with similar measures from earlier surveys. But as we have seen, the unadjusted data from the 55th Round understate measured inequality because of the change in response periods for the low frequency items such as durables and clothing.
Bhalla’s work is important, not so much for its calculations and conclusions, which are not credible, but because it represents an important and widespread strand in recent Indian thinking, that the reforms have not only been associated with rapid growth of national income, but with the virtual elimination of poverty in India.