This paper analyses the data on developments in India's rural economy after 1977, i.e., in the period of relatively rapid gross domestic product (GDP) growth, and points out that a further break appears to have occurred with the onset of economic reforms in 1991. This break, involving a dissociation between overall GDP growth on the one hand, and employment and poverty reduction on the other, is, however, contested. The main source of data on poverty and employment are the Consumer Expenditure and Employment-Unemployment Surveys carried out by the National Sample Survey (NSS) Organization. The first nine rounds (i.e., Rounds 46-54, covering the period from 1990-91 to 1998) of these NSS surveys during the 1990s had suggested a severe setback to the processes of workforce diversification and poverty reduction. But results from the latest round (i.e., Round 55, conducted in 1999-2000) have been used to argue exactly the opposite view. A substantial part of this paper, therefore, deals with analysing the comparability of Round 55 with earlier NSS rounds and with putting NSS results in the context of other independent data. However, the main objective of this paper is identify ways in which actual developments have differed from those expected.