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India home to most poor, but poverty rate lowest: World Bank

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epa03394045 Elderly women beg money at a pavement in Calcutta on 11 September 2012. India's official poverty rate as per Planning Commission, stands at 29.8 per cent, or near to 350 million people using the 2010 population figures. EPA/PIYAL ADHIKARY
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Washington: India was home to the largest number of poor in 2012, but its poverty rate was one of the lowest among those countries with the largest number of poor, according to a new World Bank report.

A new methodology applied to household surveys in India also suggests that its poverty rate could be even lower, the report noted.

For 2011-12, India’s poverty rate using the so-called “uniform reference period” (URP)-based consumption was 21.2 percent.

But a new method introduced in 2009-10 by the National Sample Survey Organization using a shorter recall period for food items brings down the poverty rate to a significantly lower figure of 12.4 percent.

From a broader historical perspective, the global poverty rate has fallen by approximately 1 percentage point a year since 1990, with rapid poverty reduction in China and India playing a central role in this outcome, the report noted.

Tentative projections for global poverty in 2015 suggest that the global headcount may have reached 700 million, leading to a poverty rate of 9.6 percent.

The number of people living in extreme poverty around the world was likely to fall to under 10 percent of the global population in 2015, according to World Bank projections.

This gives fresh evidence that a quarter-century-long sustained reduction in poverty is moving the world closer to the historic goal of ending poverty by 2030, the report said.

For the last several decades, three regions, East Asia and Pacific, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, have accounted for some 95 percent of global poverty.

In its regional forecasts for 2015, the Bank said poverty in South Asia would fall to 13.5 percent in 2015, compared to 18.8 percent in 2012.

“Development has been robust over the last two decades but the protracted global slowdown since the financial crisis of 2008, is beginning to cast its shadow on emerging economies,” said World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu.

“There is some turbulence ahead,” added Basu, a former chief economic adviser to the Indian government.

“The economic growth outlook is less impressive for emerging economies in the near future, which will create new challenges in the fight to end poverty and attend to the needs of the vulnerable, especially those living at the bottom 40 percent of their societies,” he said.

(by Arun Kumar, IANS)

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World Hunger To Rise Due To Climate Change: WFP

The number of people suffering from hunger because of climate change-induced drought is rising particularly in Africa and Latin America.

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Malnourished and displaced Somali children sit in a tent in their camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. VOA

The World Food Program warns climate change will have a devastating impact on agriculture and the ability of people to feed themselves. The WFP forecasts a huge increase in worldwide hunger unless action is taken to slow global warming.

The WFP warns progress in reducing global hunger is under threat by conflict and the increase in climate disasters. For the first time in several decades, the WFP reports the number of people suffering from chronic food shortages has risen.

This year, it says, 821 million people went to bed hungry, 11 million more than the previous year.

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Gatdin Bol, 65, who fled fighting and now survives by eating fruit from the trees, sits under a tree in the town of Kandak, South Sudan. VOA

Gernot Laganda, WFP’s chief of Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction, notes the number of climate disasters has more than doubled since the early 1990s. He says extreme weather events are driving more people to flee their homes, leading to more hunger.

He told VOA the situation will get much worse as global temperatures rise.

“We are projecting that with a two-degree warmer world, we will have around 189 million people in a status of food insecurity more than today. And, if it is a four-degrees warmer world, which is possible if no action is taken, we are looking beyond one billion more. So, there is a very, very strong argument for early and decisive climate action,” said Laganda.

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Faduma Hussein Yagoub, a polio sufferer, came with her family to Dadaab from Somalia. Her husband and two of her five young children died of hunger on the way. Despite the dangers thousands of refugees every week are making the journey, walking for weeks across the desert and braving attacks by armed robbers and wild animals:

Data from this year’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report by six leading U.N. agencies show the bulk of losses and damages in food systems are due to drought and most of these disastrous events occur in Africa.

Also Read: Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

Laganda says the number of people suffering from hunger because of climate change-induced drought is rising particularly in Africa and Latin America. He notes that until recently progress in Asia had led to a reduction in world hunger, but that trend has slowed markedly. (VOA)