Nagrik Dialogue

Progress Against Multidimensional Poverty

There is some good news for India. Three different robust, credible measures of poverty have recorded a dramatic reduction in the incidence of poverty in India. The most straightforward of these, the World Bank’s estimate of the number of people living on less than $1.90 per day on a purchasing power parity basis (the international poverty line), found that poverty declined from 21.6% to an estimated 13.4% between 2011 and 2015.

The 2018 update to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) human development index (HDI) said that between 1990 and 2017, India’s HDI value has increased by nearly 50%—emblem­atic of the country’s remarkable achievement in lifting millions out of poverty.

And, according to perhaps the most comprehensive measure of poverty, the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) released by UNDP and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), India has lifted 271 million people out of multi-dimensional poverty in the 10 years between 2005-06 and 2015-16.

Though traditionally marginalized population groups such as rural populations, scheduled castes and tribes, Muslims, and young children remained the poorest in 2015-16, they were also “catching up”—that is, they also showed the largest re

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