As many as 271 million Indians were moved out of poverty between 2005-’06 and 2015-’16, data released on Friday showed. India’s poverty rate fell by half in the decade, from 55% to 28%, said the report, released by United Nations Development Programme and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.
However, about 1.3 billion people still live in multidimensional poverty globally, the 2018 Multidimensional Poverty Index report said. This is a quarter of the population of the 104 countries studied by the index. Nearly half of them live in severe poverty.
The index evaluates poverty on three dimensions: health, education and living standards, with focus on access to clean water, sanitation, adequate nutrition and primary education. Those deprived in at least of a third of the index’s components are defined as “multidimensionally poor”. As many as 83% of the multidimensionally poor live in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the report said.
In India, poverty reduction was fastest among children, the poorest states, scheduled tribes and Muslims, PTI quoted the report as saying. “Although the level of poverty – particularly in children – is staggering, so is the progress that can be made in tackling it,” UNDP’s Achim Steiner said. “In India alone some 271 million have escaped multidimensional poverty in just ten years.”
The number of multidimensionally poor people in India was 635 million in 2005-’06, but was found to be 364 million a decade later, the report said. Out of these, 156 million are children.
The poorest groups – across states, castes, religions, and ages – had the biggest reductions in the decade, showing that they have been “catching up”, the report said. This is a “dramatic reversal”, said the report, as the poorest groups had progressed the slowest between 1998-’99 and 2005-’06.
Bihar remained the poorest state in 2015-’16, with more than half its population in poverty.