India reduced “multidimensional poverty” the fastest among a select group of 10 developing countries between 2005-’06 and 2015-’16, a report released by the United Nations Development Programme said on Thursday.

The UNDP’s multidimensional poverty index tracks deprivation across 10 indicators in health, education and living standards. Countries with poor data in at least a third of the index’s components are classified as “multidimensionally poor”.

The 2019 index found 1.3 billion people across 101 countries – or 23.1% of their population multidimensionally poor. Half of them were below the age of 18, and a third were under 10. As many as 84.5% of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the report said.

Last year, the UNDP, in a report with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, had said that India had moved 271 million people out of poverty between 2005-’06 and 2015-’16. India’s poverty rate fell by half in the decade, from 55% to 28%, the report had said.

Fastest reduction in poverty

The report separately analysed 10 countries – in the middle and low income categories across every developing region – for the reduction of poverty over multiple years. Of these, India and Cambodia reduced their multidimensional poverty the fastest, and “did not leave the poorest groups behind”, the report said.

India reduced deprivation across all 10 indicators between 2005-’06 and 2015-’16 – most significantly in assets, cooking fuel, sanitation and nutrition, the report said. The report said that among the 10 countries, child poverty reduced faster than adult poverty in India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Haiti and Peru.

Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria Pakistan and Vietnam were the other countries in the list. The time spans used for the comparison were different for each country.

Regional progress

The report also measured progress in the poorest regions of these 10 countries. “Among selected countries with a significant reduction in [multidimensional poverty index] value, India demonstrates the clearest pro-poor pattern at the subnational level: the poorest regions reduced multidimensional poverty the fastest in absolute terms.”

Jharkhand performed the best across these 10 countries – its multidimensional poverty reduced from 74.9% to 46.5% between 2005-’06 and 2015-’16. Mondol Kiri and Rattanak Kiri in Cambodia brought the figure down from 71.0% to 55.9% between 2010 and 2014, the report said.

“That the poorest parts of the country are more quickly lifting people out of poverty demonstrates India’s commitment to ensuring no one is left behind, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the government’s own priorities,” Shoko Noda, the UNDP’s India Resident Representative, told The Indian Express.