India’s poverty level is coming down. Niti Aayog’s ‘National Multidimensional Poverty Index: A Progress Review 2023’ released today showed that as many as 13.5 crore people have come out of multidimensional poverty between 2015-16 and 2019-21. The report was released by Suman Bery, Vice-Chairman, Niti Aayog. According to the report, the country has registered a significant decline of 9.89 percentage points in the number of multidimensionally poor from 24.85 per cent in 2015-16 to 14.96 per cent in 2019-2021.
Interestingly, last week, a United Nations survey showed that India pulled out 451 million people out of poverty in the last 15 years—between 2005-06 and 2019-21.
The Niti Aayog in its report also said that rural areas witnessed the fastest decline in poverty from 32.59 per cent to 19.28 per cent. During the same period, the urban areas saw a reduction in poverty from 8.65 per cent to 5.27 per cent.
The report pointed out that Uttar Pradesh registered the largest decline in the number of poor with 3.43 crore people escaping multidimensional poverty.
BVR Subrahmanyam, CEO Niti Aayog along with members V K. Paul and Arvind Virmani, was also present on the occasion.
The findings of the Niti Aayog report underscores the fact that social benefit schemes aimed at the poor and vulnerable have been successful in India. The data also indicates that job generation has picked up steam but this may not be getting reflected in data collection due to weak sampling in the unorganized sector.
The UN study said that in 2005-06, India had about 645 million people who were in multidimensional poverty. The number declined to about 370 million in 2015-16 and 230 million in 2019-21. Notably, several analyses had earlier suggested that India’s poverty level increased due to the Covid shocks.
The findings of these reports negate the anecdotal evidence based-indices measuring hunger and happiness.
In 2022, The Global Hunger Report 2022 released by Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe, Non-Government Organisations from Ireland and Germany respectively, has ranked India at 107 among 121 countries. What came as a surprise was the ranking of cash starved Pakistan at 99 and Sri Lanka at 64.
“The report is not only disconnected from ground reality but also chooses to deliberately ignore efforts made by the Government to ensure food Security for the population especially during the Covid Pandemic,” India said in response to the hunger index.