The Daily Star
Bangladesh has scored better than India and Nepal in UNDP's Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) of five South Asian countries.
Among 104 countries, Bangladesh ranked 73. India ranked 74, Nepal 82, Pakistan 70, Sri Lanka 32 in the MPI released on July 15.
The 10 indicators in MPI are grouped into three equally weighted dimensions--health (child mortality and nutrition), education (years of schooling and child enrolment), and standard of living (electricity, drinking water, sanitation, flooring, cooking fuel, and assets).
The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) of Oxford University and the Human Development Report Office of UNDP jointly prepared the MPI.
On Bangladesh, the report finds that 57.8 percent of its population were deprived of at least 30 percent of the set of 10 indicators in MPI, and on an average they were deprived of 50.4 percent of the indicators.
In terms of human lives, South Asia has the highest level of poverty in the world.
In Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal, the poor are deprived in case of more than half of the indicators on an average. In India, Bangladesh and Nepal deprivation in living standard is the highest contributor to poverty followed by health and education.
In education, Bangladesh is much better than India, Pakistan and Nepal. Only nine percent people of poor households have their children not attending schools in Bangladesh.
In South Asia, only Sri Lanka is ahead of Bangladesh on the education dimension, and on the health dimension Bangladesh is better than India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The MPI is based on statistics collected from different countries for different years. In case of Bangladesh, it was prepared on the basis of statistics of 2007, and it was compared with that of 2004.
The World Bank's (WB) senior economist Zahid Hossain said inspired by the work of Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen, the MPI was prepared. Sen has argued convincingly for a multidimensional approach to poverty as well as development.
Zahid also said MPI is not comparable with poverty assessment based on the Cost of Basic Needs (CBN) method, the $1.25 a day criteria or the Human Development Index and the Human Poverty Index.
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