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Between 2005/06 and 2015/16, India’s Poverty Rate Fell Drastically From 55% to 28%: UNDP and Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative’s Report

According to the report,  271 million people moved out of multidimensional poverty in India in this period.

According to the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2018 report prepared by Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), between 2005/06-2015/16, India has managed to reduce its poverty rate drastically from 55% to 27.5%. In these ten years, 271 million people moved out of multidimensional poverty in India, the report states.

MPI in India was cut by half due to faster progress among the poorest. The report points that this positive trend of pro-poor poverty reduction is seen also across religions and caste groups. There has been reduction in poverty among the poorest groups in India —Muslims and Scheduled Tribes (STs) between 2005/06 to 2015/16. Yet, the report states, these two groups still have the highest rates of poverty. For instance, while 80% of those in the ST category had been poor in 2005/06, in 2015/16, 50% of the people in the category are still poor.

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The reduction in MPI, per the report, is primarily based on economic growth from 2005 onwards. However, it adds that the figures are from 200/06 to 2015/16, so they may not reflect the current situation in India.

The OPHI has followed the Alkire-Foster (AF) method developed by OPHI’s Sabina Alkire and James Foster. The method involves counting the different types of deprivation that individuals experience at a given time. These factors include lack of education or employment, or poor health or living standards, and the profiles where the deprivations are overlapping for an individual or household are identified as poor. These profiles are then used to construct a multidimensional index of poverty (MPI).

A video explaining the MPI can be seen here.

While the 2005/06 statistics showed that there were 292 million poor children in India (aged under ten), the latest figures represent 136 million fewer children growing up in multidimensional poverty, that is, a 47 percent decrease. Considering the severe lifetime consequences that childhood deprivation can have, it is significant that the multidimensional poverty among children under 10 has fallen the fastest, a good sign for India’s future.

In an overview of the Global statistics, the report states that 1.3 billion people live in multidimensional poverty, of which 46% live in severe poverty. Two-thirds of all the multidimensionally poor people live in middle-income countries. 83% of all multidimensionally poor people in the world live in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Half of the multidimensionally poor (650 million) are children aged 0-17 (of which 156 million are in India). According to the report, 85% of MPI poor people live in rural areas.

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