India has registered the fastest absolute reduction in the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) value among ten countries, spanning every developing region, whose combined population is two billion people. And Jharkhand is among the poorest regions in the world improving the fastest.
According to the global MPI 2019 report released Thursday, between 2005-06 and 2015-16, India, lifted 271 million out of poverty, significantly reducing deprivations in many of the ten indicators, particularly in “assets, cooking fuel, sanitation and nutrition”.
The MPI captures both the incidence and intensity of poverty. The global MPI tracks 101 countries on deprivations across ten indicators in health, education, and standard of living. Developed in 2010 by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it looks beyond income poverty and tracks poverty in terms of the deprivation faced by people in their daily lives.
The report stated: “Among selected countries with a significant reduction in MPI value, India demonstrates the clearest pro-poor pattern at the subnational level: the poorest regions reduced multidimensional poverty the fastest in absolute terms”.
It cites Jharkhand, which reduced multidimensional poverty from 74.9 per cent to 46.5 per cent in the ten years since 2005-06, as an example of the poorest region improving the fastest followed by Rattanak Kiri in Cambodia.
Among the four Indian states with the most acute MPI — Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh — Jharkhand has made the most progress. Overall, India was among three countries where poverty reduction in rural areas outpaced that in urban areas, which as per the report, is an indicator of pro-poor development.
The National Family Health Survey round three and four (NHFS 2005-06 & 2015-16) is the source for the comparative data on the indicators.
In this period, the report stated, the incidence of multidimensional poverty in India has almost halved, to 27.9 per cent from 55.1 per cent, lifting 271 million out of poverty — from 640 million to around 369 million. With regards to intensity, the reduction is negligible — from 51.1 per cent to 43.9 per cent — which goes to show that the experience of the poor person, how they face deprivation, hasn’t changed all that dramatically.
“Traditionally disadvantaged subgroups such as those living in rural India, Muslims, the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and young children are still the poorest in India,” said a UNDP official.
Shoko Noda, UNDP India Resident Representative, said, “The MPI captures the huge progress India has made in reducing multidimensional poverty across the country, while also providing a more complete picture of who is deprived, how they are deprived, and where they live.”
“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.”
The ten developing nations for which the comparison is made include countries across income categories: upper middle (Peru), lower middle (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Vietnam) and low (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti).
Across the 101 countries, 23.1 per cent of the people are multidimensionally poor. Fifty per cent of multidimensionally poor people are children, and a third are children under age 10 with over 85 per cent of poor children living in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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