New Delhi: India’s extreme poverty has declined by 12.3% in 2019 from 2011, the World Bank has found.
Extreme poverty is measured in the terms of the number of people living on less than $1.90 or Rs 145 a day.
A working paper of the bank said rural poverty declined from 26.3% in 2011 to 11.6% in 2019. The decline in urban areas was from 14.2% to 6.3% in the same period.
To sum up, the poverty level in rural and urban areas went down by 14.7 and 7.9 percentage points, respectively.
The paper titled, ‘Poverty In India Has Declined Over The Last Decade But Not As Much As Previously Thought’, was jointly authored by Sutirtha Sinha Roy and Roy van der Weide.
“Finally, the extent of poverty reduction during 2015-2019 is estimated to be notably lower than earlier projections based on growth in private final consumption expenditure reported in national account statistics,” Sinha Roy and Weide said.
The global bank’s policy research team also said the poverty headcount in the country has dropped from 22.5% in 2011 to 10.2% in 2019 with rural areas showing better results.
The study noted that farmers with small landholdings have seen higher growth. It said: “Real incomes for farmers with the smallest landholdings have grown by 10 percent in annualized terms between the two survey rounds (2013 and 2019) compared to a 2% growth for farmers with the largest landholding.”
The World Bank paper is a significant indicator of India’s poverty levels as the country itself has no recent official estimation.
The last expenditure survey of India’s poverty and inequality was in 2011 by the National Sample Survey Organisation.
Interestingly, a recent International Monetary Fund paper had also suggested that extreme poverty in India was as low as 0.8% in 2019. Authors Surjit Bhalla, Karan Bhasin and Arvind Virmani noted the country had kept up the level in pandemic year 2020 by transferring food through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.