Published: 12th July 2019
27.1 crore Indians out of poverty between 2006-16. PM Modi's $5 trillion economy dream to come true?
India might actually be moving towards his dream. India, from 2006 to 2016 has improved from a Multidimensional Poverty Index of 0.283 to 0.123 which is a significant rise
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recently, denounced the very Indian concept of poverty being a virtue and asked India to dream big. He has, time and again, said that government schemes have helped reduce the poverty rate in the country significantly. UN's reports support his claim. Recording the fastest reductions in the multidimensional poverty index values during the period 2006-2016 with strong improvements in areas such as "assets, cooking fuel, sanitation and nutrition", India has managed to alleviate 27.1 crore people out of poverty and reduce the intensity of deprivation by 7.38 per cent, a report by the United Nations said.
"You have to understand the full import of what a $5 trillion economy means and take this message to the masses...Why should India not dream big? Why should poverty be considered to be a virtue?" PM Modi had recently said while addressing BJP workers.
India might actually be moving towards the dream. The 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) said that India, in a decade, from 2006 to 2016 — eight years of UPA and two of NDA — has improved from a Multidimensional Poverty Index of 0.283 to 0.123 which is a significant rise. Population in severe multidimensional poverty in the country is also substantially low in comparison to the neighbours Pakistan and Bangladesh — India stood at 8.8 per cent in 2016 while Pakistan still has 21.5 per cent of its population in severe multidimensional poverty even in 2018 and Bangladesh too was at 16.7 per cent in the latest available data (2014).
Asset building has been the focus for India for quite some time and the data seems to reflect just that. In 2006, 37.6 per cent of the population was deprived of assets owing to poverty but the situation has exponentially improved in 2016 and only 9.5 per cent of India fall under that category. But our neighbours do not fare well in this aspect as well. Pakistan stands at 12.2 per cent and Bangladesh at 28.3 per cent — both nations have improved considerably though in a span of five and 10 years respectively.
In 2005-2006, the population in India living in multidimensional poverty stood at about 640 million people (55.1 per cent) and this reduced to 369 million people (27.9 per cent) living in poverty in 2015-16 with significant reductions in the number of people who are deprived in each of the 10 indicators over this time period. India reduced deprivation in nutrition from 44.3 per cent in 2005-06 to 21.2 per cent in 2015-16, child mortality dropped from 4.5 per cent to 2.2 per cent, people deprived of cooking fuel reduced from 52.9 per cent to 26.2 per cent, deprivation in sanitation from 50.4 per cent to 24.6 per cent, those deprived of drinking water reduced from 16.6 per cent to 6.2 per cent.
The report highlights 10 countries — Bangladesh, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru and Vietnam — to illustrate the level of poverty reduction, and all of them have shown statistically significant progress towards ending poverty "in all its forms, everywhere", the first goal of Sustainable Development. Out of the bunch, India and Cambodia reduced their MPI values the fastest and in an all-inclusive manner. The report said that the poorer sections of the society in Jharkhand has improved the fastest and reduced the incidence of multidimensional poverty from 74.9 per cent in 2005-06 to 46.5 per cent in 2015-16.
Of the 1.3 billion people who are under multidimensional poverty across the globe, more than two-thirds of them — 886 million— now live in middle-income countries. A further 440 million live in low-income countries. What is even more staggering, worldwide, one in three children is multidimensionally poor, compared to one in six adults. That means that nearly half of the people living in multidimensional poverty — 663 million — are children, with the youngest children bearing the greatest burden. The vast majority of these children, around 85 per cent, live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, split roughly equally between the two regions. The report highlighted that the traditional concept of poverty is outdated, demonstrating more clearly than ever that labelling countries — or even households — as rich and poor is an oversimplification.