Poverty’s last citadels are falling

A surprising and good news is that recent trends about global poverty scenario indicate poverty may be eliminated by 2015 itself. Globally, poverty trends in major emerging markets shows sharp decline in the last one decade.

The UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2013, published on July 2013 assesses that world’s poverty reduction targets are five years ahead of the schedules. “The world reached the poverty reduction target five years ahead of schedule. In developing regions, the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47 per cent in 1990 to 22 per cent in 2010. About 700 million fewer people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990.” The UN Millennium Development Goals has made the timeline of 2015 to remove poverty.

The UN MDG Report notes that poverty elimination drives are lead by China, India and Indonesia. A remarkable outcome was poverty reduction in India and China. The two countries are the largest populated in the world and fast growing economies. India holds the largest number of poor people in the world. Poverty reduction globally becomes successful as poverty level comes down in these three most populated countries, which also holds largest number of poor people.

The UN MDG Report has lauded China in poverty reduction. According to the report, in China, extreme poverty dropped from 60 per cent in 1990 to 16 per cent in 2005 and 12 per cent in 2010.

But India is more successful in eliminating urban slums compared to China during this period according to the report.

For India, as per the Planning Commission’s latest estimate, percentage of poor people below poverty line has come down to 21 per cent or to 269 million in 2011. 

The twelfth plan targets to reduce it by ten percentage points.

 India has recently introduced a food security bill to eliminate poverty and this will be a land mark attempt in eliminating poverty. The bill makes food security a constitutional binding on the government. Two of India’s poverty eradication programmes- the NREGS and the food security programme will cost nearly 1.6 lack crores rupees, which is nearly 10 percent of the central government’s budget.

Sufficient food grains production and tax revenue of the government enabled India to launch nationwide social security and other programmes to fight poverty.

If India has introduced budget burdening income transferring programmes like  the employment guarantee programme (NREGS) and food security bill to eliminate poverty, China has followed a more healthy and sustainably way. Poverty in China is coming down due to greater employment generation in the industrial sector. The expansion of income and its poverty reduction effect will remain there as the country marches past more industrial progress.

Overall, the emerging economies were successful in their fight against poverty. They have converted the gains in growth to the marginalized people. As India and China are eliminating poverty, the smaller developing countries will also able to do it in the near future. At the same time, the world should make more political effort to bring down poverty in administratively chaotic Sub-Saharan Africa. 


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