BHUBANESWAR: Here is a shocker. Orissa now fares worse in poverty than African countries like Kenya, Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is worse than Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The state of affairs has been revealed by the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) of UK-based Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.
In the MPI, Orissa has been assigned a value of 0.345. In terms of head count, a whopping 64 per cent of the population has been categorised as poor. The average intensity of deprivation here is measured at 0.54, which is higher than Chhattisgarh. Orissa’s contribution in India’s composite MPI stands at 4.3 per cent.
The figure is seven per cent higher than the 57 per cent BPL population identified by the Tendulkar Committee recently. Orissa was the poorest in the Tendulkar Committee report but MPI has put the ‘poorest’ tag on Bihar. It has placed Orissa ahead of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar.
Why this discrepancy? MPI is different to the income poverty index. It has three dimensions like education, health and standard of living. A household is identified as multidimensionally poor if, and only if, it is deprived in some combination of the indicators like schooling, child enrolment, child mortality, nutrition, electricity, sanitation, drinking water, flooring, cooking fuel and assets.
In Orissa, the proportion of the poor deprived of schooling stands at 0.23 and child enrolment at 0.19. Here Orissa fares worse than Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and UP. The deprivation proportion stands at 0.24 in child mortality and 0.45 in nutrition. Orissa is way ahead than the BIMARU states except Rajasthan. In the barometer of standard of living, Orissa fares better than the BIMARU states. But, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan show better results than Orissa in electricity connections.
However, the coverage of education and health to the poor households has increased in Orissa, thanks to Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and National Rural Health Mission. The provisioning of sanitation and potable water too has improved. And these improvements have helped Orissa carving a higher rank than other BIMARU states in the multidimensional poverty index.
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