Muslims Remain Poorest in 2015-16 While Poverty in India Down from 55% to 28% in 10 years, Study Shows

The latest report on global poverty is making news because it claims that 271 million people have moved out of poverty in India between 2005-06 and 2015-16.

Caravan News

NEW DELHI — In India, a total of 271 million (27.10 crore) people moved out of poverty during the ten years between 2005-06 and 2015-16, according to a study.

A new version of the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) says India reduced its poverty rate sharply from 55 per cent to 28 per cent in the given ten years’ period.

“The poorest groups in India — Muslims and Scheduled Tribes — reduced poverty the most over the ten years from 2005-06 to 2015-16,” the report said.

The sharp reduction happened in the UPA years (Congress-led UPA was in power from 2004-05 till 2013-14).

The average GDP growth rate during the UPA period was about 7.6 per cent.

The multidimensional poverty index (MPI) is based on a powerful list of 10 deprivations for poor. The dimensions of poverty range from deprivations of health facilities, education, and living standards.

The MPI measures acute poverty and people experiencing multiple deprivations, for example, those who are both undernourished and do not have safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and clean fuel. These indicators are set to minimum international agreed standards in basic functioning.

“While progress has been remarkable, the country still has the largest number of people living in multidimensional poverty in the world (364 million people). If one considers the 364 million people who are MPI poor in 2015-16, 156 million (34.5 per cent) are children. In fact, of all the poor people in India, just over one in four-27.1 per cent-has not yet celebrated their tenth birthday,” the report said.

But multidimensional poverty among children under 10 has fallen the fastest. In 2005-06 there were 292 million poor children in India, so the latest figures represent a 47 per cent decrease or a 136 million fewer children growing up in multidimensional poverty.

“When considering the durable and lifetime consequences of childhood deprivation, particularly in nutrition and schooling, this is a tremendously good sign for India’s future,” it said.

The global MPI covers 105 countries in total, which are home to 77 per cent of the world’s population, or 5.7 billion people. Of this proportion, 23 per cent of people (1.3 billion) are identified as multidimensionally poor.

The report said that across the 640 districts in India, the poorest district is Alirajpur in Madhya Pradesh, where 76.5 per cent of people are MPI poor,

Among states, Jharkhand had the greatest improvement, with Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Nagaland only slightly behind. However, Bihar is still the poorest state in 2015-16, with more than half of its population in poverty.

In 2015-16, the four poorest states — Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh — were still home to 196 million MPI poor people — over half of all the MPI poor people. A total of 113 million people — 8.6 per cent of India’s people — live in severe poverty, the report, which also contains a case study in India.


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