New Delhi: Even as India got pushed behind Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the hunger index, a report jointly prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) suggests that the country has managed to pull out 415 million people from poverty in the last 15 years.
The report titled Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2022 says the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) estimates based on the Demographic and Health Survey for the country released between 2019 and 2021 show 415 million people exited poverty between 20105/2006 and 2019/2021 — including 140 million since 2015/2016 — and the country’s MPI value and incidence of poverty were both more than halved. The MPI value fell from 0.283 in 2005/2006 to 0.122 in 2015/2016 to 0.069 in 2019/2021 and the incidence of poverty fell from 55.1 per cent to 27.7 per cent to 16.4 per cent.
The report says, according to 2019/2021 data, about 16.4 per cent of India’s population live in poverty, with an average intensity of 42 per cent; about 4.2 per cent of the population live in severe poverty, about 18.7 per cent of people are vulnerable to poverty.
Rural disparities: According to the report, 21.2 per cent of people living in rural areas are poor compared with 5.5 per cent in urban areas.
“205 million of the nearly 229 million poor people live in rural areas — making them a clear priority”, the report added.
Among poor people, deprivation in cooking fuel and housing are the most common, followed by nutrition and sanitation.
Children are still the poorest age group: According to the report, more than one in five children are poor (21.8 per cent) compared with around one in seven adults (13.9 per cent). This translates to 97 million poor children.
Also, the report points out that India is the only country in South Asia in which poverty is significantly more prevalent among female-headed households than among male-headed households. The report says about 19.7 per cent of people living in female-headed households live in poverty compared with 15.9 per cent in male-headed households. The report adds that one in seven households is a female-headed household, so around 39 million poor people live in a household headed by a woman.
The poorest states in India saw the fastest absolute reduction in Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) value from 2015/2016 to 2019/2021
Across states and union territories the fastest reduction in relative terms was in Goa, followed by Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. In relative terms the poorest states have not caught up. Of the 10 poorest states in 2015/2016, only one (West Bengal) was not among the 10 poorest in 2019/2021. The rest — Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan — remain among the 10 poorest.