India lifted 271 mln people out of poverty in 10 yrs, claims govt report

The poverty estimates used to back the claims, however, are decade old

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Tuesday 14 July 2020

At least 271 million people were lifted out of multi-dimensional poverty between 2005-06 and 2016-17, claimed India’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). However, the poverty estimates used to back the claims, presented of by the NITI Aayog at the ongoing High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, are based on nearly decade-old data.

The estimates presented were drawn from the 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) released in July 2019.

According to the global MPI, over 640 million people across India were in multidimensional poverty in 2005-2006. The number people living under poverty decreased to around 369.55 million by 2016-2017.

According to the estimates, 27.9 per cent of India’s population was poor in 2016-17.  The survey year considered in the global poverty index was 2015-16.

The claims in VNR report come in when as many as 22 states have become poorer and the country is far from its first goal of attaining “zero poverty” by 2030.

Multidimensional poverty does not depend on any single indicator. It considers estimates progress under 10 indicators, according to the NITI Aayog report:

  • Nutrition
  • Child mortality
  • Years of schooling
  • School attendance
  • Cooking fuel
  • Sanitation
  • Drinking water
  • Electricity
  • Housing
  • Assets 

The poverty reduction in rural areas has outpaced that in urban areas, claimed the government report.

Measuring and monitoring progress under the goal to reach ‘zero poverty by 2030’ needs reality check on India’s poor. As the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is feared to make the country poorer, India would need to recount its poor. 

While consumption surveys provide important indicators required to estimate poverty, the all-India survey on household consumption expenditure for the period July 2017-June 2018 was scrapped by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation citing “data discrepancies”.

The ministry had decided to examine the feasibility of conducting the next Consumer Expenditure Survey in 2020-2021 and 2021-22, after incorporating data quality refinements in the survey process.

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