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

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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