Bibek Debroy writes: BIMARU states are breaking poverty’s chains

Source– The post is based on the article “Bibek Debroy writes: BIMARU states are breaking poverty’s chains” published in “The Indian Express” on 10th August 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Issues related to poverty and hunger

Relevance: Estimation of poverty

News– The article explain the prevalence of poverty rate in India as indicated by UNDP and NITI Aayog reports

What are various methods used in India to define and quantify poverty?

Traditionally, poverty has been identified as a percentage of the population living below a designated poverty line. It is known as the head-count ratio.

The currently recognized poverty line is still based on the Tendulkar measurement.

Due to the absence of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) surveys on consumption expenditure beyond 2011-12, no head-count ratios are available after that period.

Over time, development economists have contended that poverty is a multi-faceted concept. There has been a transition to multidimensional poverty index (MDPI).

What are some facts about Muli-dimensional Poverty Index?

It relies on three key dimensions of poverty: health, education, and living standards.

Health metrics encompass aspects like nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, and maternal health, while education measures include years of schooling and school attendance.

Living standard encompasses factors like cooking fuel, sanitation, access to clean drinking water, electricity, housing, assets, and bank accounts.

What are poverty rates in India as per data provided by UNDP and NITI Aayog?

According to the UNDP report, around 415 million individuals transitioned out of poverty between 2005-06 and 2019-21, resulting in a reduction of poverty incidence from 55.1 percent to 16.4 percent.

As per UNDP report, the steepest declines in poverty have occurred in economically disadvantaged states.

However, it’s important to note that the UNDP’s report presents a national aggregate perspective for India, while the Niti Aayog report delves into regional and state-specific disparities.

The Niti Aayog report indicates a decrease in poverty rates from 24.85 percent in 2015-16 to 14.96 percent in 2019-21.

During this period, an estimated 135.5 million Indians were lifted out of poverty. Within this group, Uttar Pradesh alone accounted for 34.3 million individuals.

How have BIMARU states performed well in poverty reduction?

Many years ago, demographer Ashish Bose introduced the acronym BIMARU to represent the then-undivided states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

BIMARU served as a symbolic representation of the various issues that plagued India during that time.

India’s overall development, employment situation, and poverty alleviation efforts are significantly influenced by the conditions prevailing in these states. This is primarily due to their substantial populations, as well as the extensive poverty levels.

The report from Niti Aayog reveals that the most rapid declines in poverty rates were observed in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan.

Specifically, Bihar’s poverty rate has now reached 33.8 percent, Madhya Pradesh at 20.6 percent, Odisha at 15.7 percent, and Rajasthan at 15.3 percent.

Uttar Pradesh’s poverty rate stands at 22.9 percent, having started from a baseline of 37.7 percent in 2015-16.

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