India got 273 m out of poverty in 10 years

India had the biggest reduction in the number of multi-dimensionally poor people estimated at over 270 million during the 2005-15 period, a new UN report has said. The data, released by United Nations Development Programme and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, showed 65 of 75 countries studied significantly reduced their poverty levels between 2000 and 2019.

Four countries —Armenia (2010–2015 /2016), India (2005/2006–2015/ 2016), Nicaragua (2001–2011/2012) and North Macedonia (2005/2006–2011) halved their global MPIT value and did so in 5.5–10.5 years. These countries show what is possible for countries with very different initial poverty levels. They account for roughly a fifth of world’s population, mostly because of India, the report said. The multidimensional index is a measure that looks beyond income to include access to safe water, education, electricity, food and six other indicators.

But the impact of Covid-19 may slow down efforts to reduce multidimensional poverty. The pandemic unfolded in the midst of this analysis. While data are not yet available to measure the rise of global poverty after the pandemic, simulations suggest that, if unaddressed, progress across 70 developing countries could be set back by 3–10 years, the report said.

“Covid-19 is having a profound impact on the development landscape. But this data — from before the pandemic — is a message of hope. Past success stories on how to tackle the many ways people experience poverty, can show how to build back better and improve the lives of millions,” said Sabina Alkire, Director of OPHI at the University of Oxford.

Among the 1.3 billion people still living in multidimensional poverty today, more than 80% are deprived in at least five of the ten indicators used to measure health, education and living standards in the global MPI.

The data also reveals the burden of multidimensional poverty disproportionately falls on children. Half of the 1.3 billion poor have not yet turned 18. While 107 million are 60 or older, the report said. Children show higher rates of multidimensional poverty: half of multidimensionally poor people (644 million) are children under age 18. One in three children is poor compared with one in six adults, the report said. “Covid-19 is the latest crisis to hit the globe, and climate change all but guarantees more will follow soon. This is why the Multidimensional Poverty Index is so important” said Pedro Conçeicão, Director, Human Development Report Office at UNDP.

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