Number Of Poor People in India Dropped By About 415 Million in 15 Years: UN

By Ritu Jha January 03, 2023

India is an important case study on poverty reduction in all its dimensions

Number Of Poor People in India Dropped By About 415 Million in 15 Years: UN
The report indicates that India's 415 million poor people were successfully rescued from the grip of Poverty. File photo

“India is an important case study for the Sustainable Development Goals, the first of which is to end poverty in all its forms and to reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions by 2030, all while leaving no one behind,” notes communication from the UN.

The report titled ‘Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2022: Unpacking deprivation bundles to reduce multidimensional poverty’ was released recently by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

Microdata was used for estimating the multidimensional poverty index for which household survey data was collected for 111 countries covering 6.1 billion people. For the first time, the report covers the indicators that touch the common deprivation profiles of the households.

The key focus area of the report covers global poverty dynamics and a special section is on the trend of poverty in India. The central focus of the special section report on India indicates a positive trend in the upliftment of the poor from the poverty net. The report indicates the success of “the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 1.2 of reducing at least half the portion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions by 2030 is possible to achieve -- and at scale”. Within India, the interstate data indicates the fastest pace of reduction in poverty among the poorest states and groups (children, lower castes and those living in rural areas).

Over the 15 years of the time period, beginning from 2005-06 and 2019-20, the trend in poverty indicates that India successfully uplifted its 415 million poor from the pangs of the poverty net. This means that India has performed fairly well on the vital UNDP indicators of poverty which includes health, education, and the standard of living of the poor. The report also notes that the future of India is shining bright and healthy as “poverty among children fell faster in the absolute terms”. But poverty in India requires a long-term solution because India still accounts for “the highest number of poor children in the world (97 million, or 21.8 percent of children ages 0-17)”. This means that there is a long way to go ahead.

Globally 1.2 billion people or 19.1 percent live in acute multidimensional poverty. Out of which 593 million or almost half of them are children below the age of 18. This means the world needs to focus on the future of the planet as it is cradling under the pangs of hunger and poverty. The geography of poverty indicates that it is the developing region of Sub-Saharan Africa (nearly 579 million) and South Asia (385 million) that have the highest concentration of the poor.

The report in its key highlights indicates multidimensional poverty dynamics and has also addressed the limitations in the form of the “jarring data inequality” and the availability of poor data for the poor. The poor availability of data on poverty not just makes the trend analysis difficult but also limits the reach of the poverty programmes for the targeted population. The report notes “. . .

Addressing poverty requires better data. The infrequency of household surveys makes it difficult to assess the true impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on poverty. The data revolution must not leave the collection of poverty data behind”.