The Economic Times
NEW DELHI: This data is certain to have a sobering effect on policy wonks who never get tired of trumpeting the growth story and prompt them to recognise the chasm between prosperous India and struggling India. A UNDP survey says that eight Indian states have more poor than 26 African nations put together.
A new Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) conceived and created by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative with UNDP support to measure global poverty has said that acute poverty prevails in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Together they account for 421 million, 11 million more “MPI poor” than in the 26 poorest African countries.
This will form part of the findings of the 2010 UNDP Human Development Report, which will be published in late October. The research findings from MPI were made available in London on Monday.
The MPI assesses a range of critical factors or “deprivations” at the household level: From education to health outcomes to assets and services. Taken together, these factors provide a fuller portrait of acute poverty than simple income measures, according to UNDP. The measure reveals the nature and extent of poverty at different levels — from household up to regional, national and international level.
This new multidimensional approach to assessing poverty has been adapted for national use in Mexico, and is now being considered by Chile and Colombia. “The MPI is like a high resolution lens which reveals a vivid spectrum of challenges facing the poorest households,” agency reports quoting OPHI Director Dr Sabina Alkire, who created the MPI with Professor James Foster of George Washington University and Maria Emma Santos of OPHI said.
The UNDP Human Development Report Office is also joining forces with OPHI to promote international discussions on the practical applicability of this multidimensional approach to measuring poverty.
“We are featuring the Multidimensional Poverty Index in the 20th anniversary edition of the Human Development Report this year because we consider it a highly innovative approach to quantifying acute poverty,” agency reports from London quoting Dr Jeni Klugman, Director of the UNDP Human Development Report Office and the principal author of this year’s Report, said. The MPI provides a fuller measure of poverty than the traditional dollar-a-day formulas. It is a valuable addition to the family of instruments we use to examine broader aspects of well-being, including UNDP’s Human Development Index and other measures of inequality across the population and between genders.
The research organisation’s officials analysed data from 104 countries with a combined population of 5.2 billion (78% of the world total). About 1.7 billion people in the countries covered — a third of their entire population — live in multidimensional poverty. This exceeds the 1.3 billion people, in those same countries, estimated to live on $ 1.25 a day or less, the more commonly accepted measure of ‘extreme’ poverty. Half of the world’s poor as measured by MPI live in South Asia — 51% or 844 million people — and one quarter in Africa.
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