India lifted 415 million people out of poverty in 15 years

In 2021, there were 230 million people still in poverty & nearly 19% population vulnerable to poverty, according to the latest update to the UN’s Multidimensional Poverty Index

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 11 July 2023
Representational photo from iStock__

Some 415 million Indians escaped poverty between 2005-06 and 2019-21, according to the latest Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), published annually by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. “Incidence (of multidimensional poverty) fell from 55.1 per cent to 16.4 per cent,” said the MPI report.

The MPI measures “interlinked deprivations in health, education and standard of living that directly affect a person’s life and wellbeing”.

India did not just reduce poverty at an impressive rate. The MDI report said “deprivation in all indicators declined.” It means India progressed significantly in all the three deprivation indicators: Health, education and the standard of living. Decline in poverty has been equal as well, cutting across regions and socio-economic groups.

“The poorest states and groups, including children and people in disadvantaged caste groups, had the fastest absolute progress,” says the report.

Of the above three deprivations that together measure multidimensional poverty, “standard of living” contributed 39.7 per cent — the maximum among the three — to poverty in India. Health deprivation contributed 32.2 per cent and education deprivation 28.2 per cent.

India still has more than 230 million people who are poor. According to the MDI report, one should take the population “vulnerable” to multidimensional poverty seriously. The UNDP defines, “Vulnerability — the share of people who are not poor but have deprivations in 20–33.3 percent of all weighted indicators — can be much higher.” India has some 18.7 per cent population under this category.   

Globally, 1.1 billion people, or around 18 per cent of total population, are acutely multidimensionally poor. The Index covered 110 countries for this estimate.

Sub-Saharan Africa has 534 million poor and South Asia has 389 million. “(These two regions) are home to approximately five out of every six poor people,” according to the report

“Children under 18 years old account for half of MPI-poor people (566 million). The poverty rate among children is 27.7 per cent, while among adults it is 13.4 per cent,” the MPI report said.

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