Multidimensional Poverty Report 2019 and India

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has released the 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index. The report states that of the 101 countries assessed across 31 low income, 68 middle income and 2 high income, about 1.3 billion people are “multi-dimensionally poor.

Where does India Stand?

  • With the incidence of multidimensional poverty at 27.5%, multidimensional poverty has almost halved between 2005-06 and 2015-16 in India.
  • The number of poor people in India fell by more than 271 million within ten years between 2005-06 and 2015-16.
  • The incidence of multidimensional poverty has halved in India due to faster progress among the poorest in the country. Among states, Jharkhand showed the greatest improvement and the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Nagaland were slightly behind.
  • Bihar was the poorest state in 2015- 16, with more than half of its population living in poverty.
  • The four poorest states viz. Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh were home to 196 million multidimensional poor people which accounts for more than half of all the people living in multidimensional poverty in India.
  • Even the least poor regions witnessed a reduction in poverty rates. They even netted some of the highest rates of reduction. For example, Kerala which is one of the least poor regions in 2006 has reduced its MPI by around 92%.
  • The positive trend of pro-poor poverty reduction was seen also across religions and caste groups.
  • Even though the poorest groups (Muslims and Scheduled Tribes) reduced poverty the most over the ten years from 2005-06 to 2015-16, these two groups still had the highest rates of poverty.
  • 80% of those belonging to scheduled Tribe had been poor in 2005-06 against 50% of people belonging to Scheduled Tribes being poor in 2015-16.
  • The societal distribution of deprivations in India among the poor, vulnerable, and non-poor stood at 91% in 2005-06 against 82.4% in 2015-16.
  • The poorest district in the country was Alirajpur in Madhya Pradesh, where 76.5% of people are poor – the same as Sierra Leone in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Multidimensional Poverty Index

The Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) defines poor not only on the basis of income but on other indicators, including poor health, poor quality of work and the threat of violence.

MPI is composed of ten indicators spread across:

  • Education: years of schooling and child enrollment.
  • Health: child mortality and nutrition.
  • Standard of living: Electricity, flooring, drinking water, sanitation, cooking fuel and assets.

Each education and health indicator has a 1/6 weight, each standard of living indicator a 1/18 weight.


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