Poverty levels fall by 7 percentage points in 5 yrs, faster in villages than in urban areas
-The Indian Express
Rural areas have shown a faster pace of decline as poverty levels dipped by over seven percentage points in the past five years in the country.
As per Planning Commission estimates released on Monday, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttarakhand are among the top performers, with the decline in poverty in each of these states estimated at 10 percentage points or more between 2004-05 and 2009-10.
The Northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, however, bucked the broader trend and showed an increase in poverty levels.
States traditionally bracketed under the ‘BIMARU’ tag, including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, have shown only a marginal decline in poverty levels, especially in rural areas.
Rajasthan and Haryana are among states that have done better than the national average in terms of the percentage of population below the poverty line, while Orissa and Assam are among the laggards.
The latest Planning Commission estimates, which used new household consumer expenditure methods to calculate poverty levels between 2004-05 and 2009-10, showed that among religious groups, Sikhs recorded the lowest poverty ratio in rural areas. In the urban areas, Christians have the lowest proportion of poor.
In terms of social categories, Scheduled Tribes showed the highest level of poverty in rural areas, followed by Scheduled Castes and other backward castes, while Scheduled Castes recorded the highest poverty levels in urban centres.
In urban areas, poverty ratio was the highest for Muslims at 33.9 per cent, especially on account of states such as Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar and West Bengal. In rural areas, the poverty ratio for Muslims was very high in states such as Assam, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat.
According to estimates, on the whole, poverty in the country declined 7.3 percentage points to 29.8 per cent of the population over five years. “The all India head count (HCR) ratio has declined by 7.3 percentage points, from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 29.8 per cent in 2009-10, with rural poverty declining by 8 percentage points from 41.8 per cent to 33.8 per cent and urban poverty declining by 4.8 per cent point, from 25.7 per cent to 20.9 per cent,” said an official statement.
In rural Bihar and Chhattisgarh, nearly two-third of SCs and STs were poor, whereas in states such as Manipur, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh the poverty ratio for these groups was more than half. Among the various occupational groups, nearly 50 per cent of agricultural labourers and 40 per cent of other labourers are below the poverty line in rural areas, whereas in urban areas, the poverty ratio for casual labourers is 47.1 per cent. Those in regular wage or salaried employment have the lowest proportion of poor.