Poverty in India is still a reality. With almost one-fifth the population living below poverty line, India has a long way to go bringing economic reformation. 70 years since independence, though the rates have gone far below, they are not impressing either.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index

The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative‘s Global Multidimensional Poverty Index of 2017 gave rich insights about the number of poor people living across the world. The majority of the countries with maximum poor population comes of course from the South Asian nations. The Sub Saharan African countries trails behind next.

Poverty in India was evaluated by assessment of the 10 indicator of MPI
Deprivation in one-third or more indicators categorise a person as “MPI poor”

According to the index, almost 48 percent of the multidimensionally poor are children in the age group of 0 – 17 years. What is more shocking, is India’s share in the group! In the first place, there is a total of about 1.45 billion population, that could be termed as multidimensionally poor. Second, about 689 million of the population are children. Third, and the most shocking of all, 31% of all these children live in India.

Poverty in India: Statistics

The latest data available to build conclusions on poverty in India are quite outdated. Even so, there is no substantial evidence to corroborate that the figures changed substantially in the recent years. Based on a 2014 World Bank data, 21.3% of Indians live below $1.90 per day on purchasing power parity. In simple words, 21.3% Indians live on less than ₹120/- per day.

Basic Statistics 2017 published by the Asian Development Bank throws light on major factors related to poverty in India. Based on the 2015 data, a further 21.9% of Indian population falls below the national Poverty line.

Levels of Poverty in India

Poverty rates can be classified into three categories based on per day expense ability of an individual. The $1.90 margin is raised to $3.2 and $5.5 (on Purchasing Power Parity) to broadly categorise the level of poverty. The resulting numbers are not very good.
More than half, i.e 60.4% of Indians live on just an expense ability of ₹200/- per day.

Lastly, 86.8% live below ₹350/- per day.

Effects of Poverty in India

poverty in india
malnutrition in india

The latest data shows about 15.2% of Indian children population undernourished. Additionally, nearly the same number of Indian children are malnourished. These numbers are the counts for the years 2013 – 2016.

Based on living facilities, the numbers are not impressive either. By 2015, 94.1% of India is using improved drinking water sources. At the same time, merely 39.6% of people have access to proper sanitation facilities. 62.6% of urban lives use proper toilets while the number sharply falls for rural India. Sadly, even today, only about 28.5% rural population have access to improved sanitation options.

Read Also: Farmers in India and their Crisis, When will it Stop?

Not the whole of India is electrified yet. 79.2% of our population enjoys electricity facility. About 20% still resides in the dark as of 2014. There is no specific survey available to replace the figures. Almost a quarter of the whole number of urban residents live in slums.

Causes of Poverty in India

The list of causes of poverty is not an easy task to note. However some interrelated concepts heavily constitute a share in the poverty rates.

poverty in india unemployment

Based on Usual Principle Subsidiary Status (UPSS), unemployment rate in India is just around 3.7%. The UPSS however considers 30 days of work in an year as employment, reducing the real count. To believe Basic Statistics 2017, 17.9% of eligible mass in India is unemployed. Again, women share a slightly higher unemployment rate with 19.7% as compared to 17.4% of males.

Similarly, 27.2% of youths in the age group of 15 – 24 years are not registered in any educational activities or professional trainings. Females yet again lag far behind with half of their population in the queue. The National Skill Development Mission report suggests that 97% of the workforce in India has not undergone any kind of skill training.

Are The Numbers Talking?

The best available data, though outdated, seems to leave a scar. For a developing nation like India, these numbers are a very big concern. Poverty in India is not a minor issue and needs to be tackled strategically. Having the highest number of MPI poor children raises questions both on the government and us, as citizens. Where are we failing? Why is the poverty in India still on the winning side?


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