Poverty in the country has declined considerably over the last five years- says the plan panel’s new report on poverty. In 2004-05, the percentage of people below poverty line was 37.2% and it declined to 29.8% in 2009-10. The average for the entire world is 24%.
India is having the largest number of poor in the world with nearly 35 crore out of the world’s 125 crore poor people. The number of poor in India is higher than that of sub-Saharan Africa. Another miserable fact adding to the poverty scenario is malnutrition. As per the World Bank estimate, nearly 47% of India’s children are underweight.
The declining poverty rate is a welcome trend of for the post-reform period. Previous poverty estimates indicated that the economic reforms have failed to reduce poverty in the country.
The new poverty data is obtained by using the methodology prepared by the late Dr. Suresh Tendulkar. Notable feature of the new methodology is that besides consumption of food items, education and health expenditure are also considered in measuring poverty.
The data also brings interesting feature of distribution of poverty across the country. Poverty is the lowest in small states like Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Goa. Bihar leads the poverty ratio with 53.5% of its population lives under the poverty line.