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Updated: November 5, 2010 01:20 IST

8 Indian States have 421 million multidimensionally poor people

Aarti Dhar
Comment (11)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The UNDP Human Development Report places India behind Bangladesh and Pakistan in education and healthcare. This picture of very young migrant children working at a brick kiln typifies the stark inequities of Indian development.
The Hindu The UNDP Human Development Report places India behind Bangladesh and Pakistan in education and healthcare. This picture of very young migrant children working at a brick kiln typifies the stark inequities of Indian development.

Eight Indian States are home to 421 million multidimensionally poor people, more than the figure of 410 million in 26 poorest African countries.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index — which identifies serious simultaneous deprivations in health, education and income at the household level in 104 countries — brought out in the latest United Nations Human Development Report has calculated that South Asia is home to half of the world's multi-dimensionally poor population, or 844 million people.

The rates of multidimensional poverty are, however, relatively low in most of East Asia and the Pacific including China and Thailand. In Delhi, the rate is close to Iraq and Vietnam's (about 14 per cent), while that of Bihar is similar to Sierra Leon and Guinea's (about 81 per cent), according to the report released on Thursday. The Indian States include Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, often referred to as the BIMARU States.

The report's new Inequality-adjusted HDI, measuring the effect of inequality in 139 countries, shows South Asia with an average 33 per cent loss due to inequality in health, education and income — the second largest for a development region after sub-Saharan Africa. India loses 30 per cent overall on the Inequality-adjusted HDI, including 41 per cent in education and 31 per cent in health.

Major barrier

Women's inequality remains a major barrier to human development throughout Asia, the 2010 report shows. The new Gender Inequality Index — which captures gender gaps in reproductive health, empowerment and workforce participation in 138 countries — shows that six countries of East Asia and the Pacific fall in the lower half in gender inequality, with Papua New Guinea among the lowest.

Several countries in East Asia and the Pacific have little or no female representation in Parliaments, although the Philippines and Indonesia have elected women leaders in recent decades. South Asia is characterised by relatively weak female empowerment with an inequality loss of 35 per cent compared with 16 per cent in developed nations.

India ranks 122 out of the138 countries on the Global Instability Index based on 2008 data – with nine per cent of the parliamentary seats held by women, and 27 per cent of adult women having secondary or higher levels of education compared to 50 per cent among men.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index, the Inequality-adjusted Index and the Gender Inequality Index have been added as new indicators in this year's report, which runs into its 20th year. It spotlights countries that made the greatest progress in recent decades as measured by the HDI, with China, Nepal, Indonesia, Lao PDR and South Korea making it to the “Top 10 Movers” list.

Among the South Asian countries, Nepal is second among the top movers on non-income HDI, while India is among the top 10 movers in GDP growth.

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I have been living in USA for more than 46 years. Chennai is my HQ for 3-5months every year for the last 15 years. I visit my native village and other places in Rajasthan and rural area in Tamil Nadu too. It is easy to find a domestic help in Tamil Nnadu than Rajasthan. I have seen more poverty and unhappy / poor quality of life in Chennai rather than Rajasthan. In Rajasthan when I get down from a bus and need a porter, someone would oblige me just because he knows my relatives. In Tamilnadu, you need one and quite a few would show up. In Jaipur, most of the domestic help is from Orissa, Bihar, and some southern states too. It is not the income level but quality of life and happiness should be an index to compare various states. Now we are out of Rajasthan and have 1000 time more money than we used to have, all kids are highly educated, and we are too busy. Once I asked whether we are happy now or when we were in Rajasthan. His reply was, "We were 100 times more happy when we had less money but plenty of time to enjoy."

from:  S L R
Posted on: Nov 5, 2010 at 20:11 IST

It is really shocking to hear such news!!

from:  J B Rajan
Posted on: Nov 5, 2010 at 10:56 IST

The title of the article says 8 Indian states but the article only talks about Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. What are the other four states? Are they Jharkand, Chattisghar, West Bengal and Orissa ?

from:  Anand P Kumar
Posted on: Nov 5, 2010 at 05:19 IST

Out of many states,only 8 states of 412 million are below poverty line and Indian Govt shouold put their heads together to eradacate this poverty amongs the very poorest by installing a separate corporation for erdication of famine affected areas and also to ensure, that the corruption amongst politicians should be handled with IRon hand and the administrative expenses among all the states and central government to be pruned to the minimum.This includes the lavish spending of MLAS and MPs Union ministers.

from:  vaidya
Posted on: Nov 5, 2010 at 04:03 IST

I am not sure why you stopped short of reporting all states that is on the report which has shown 621 million overall and is 55.4% of the population. This shows more than half of the country is poor, shame on us.

from:  Kannan J
Posted on: Nov 5, 2010 at 03:34 IST

A picture speak thousand words.. really heart breaking situation,regulatory and human efforts are very much essential to improve situation..

from:  prasanthpambadi
Posted on: Nov 5, 2010 at 03:19 IST

Great shame for a country like India. This shows how the nation has been led by our great leaders for widening the difference between poor and the rich and the public resources have been misappropriated by political touts for their personal gains. Despite this report, nothing will happen because we have shameless rhinos in the chairs of policy makers and governance.

from:  Arup
Posted on: Nov 4, 2010 at 22:14 IST

This widening gap between the facilities available to rich and poor does not necessarily imply that conditions of poor are worsening over time, it could simply mean that the rate of improvement of living standards of rich much higher than that of the poor. Thus both poor and rich are better off at the end of the day. Moreover the exacerbation of inequality is something inevitable in the process of development. The dark ages of Europe is a simple example.

from:  renu Johnson
Posted on: Nov 4, 2010 at 21:36 IST

I feel the report would have woken many from their slumber. It's time to stop using just slogans of developing idea and put efforts for inclusive growth. As buried in history, any nation which leaves it poorer states and rushes forward developing only few regions will fall into chaos in the long term. The youth of the today has a big role in bridging this gap. The need of the hour is the working of 3 players: Role of Government in encouraging grass root participation for formulating socially targeted policies, Increased participation of the corporates in developing the poorer section of society (for their long term interest) and finally, youth in coming up with innovative practices for implementing them.

from:  Prashant
Posted on: Nov 4, 2010 at 21:16 IST

In India we are not bothered about the well being of ordinary citizens. The public transport sysem, the roads, health amenities all are in a mess. The lack of tenable and effective leadership is the main problem. Aall are fighting a Don Quixote style war. There is no ray of hope.

from:  madhavan.taliparanpil
Posted on: Nov 4, 2010 at 21:09 IST

It is quite distressing to note that,"poverty rates in eight Indian states with a combined population of 421 million, are similar to 26 of the poorest countries in Africa. In the gender inequality index, India ranked 122, is behind Bangladesh and Pakistan at 116 and 112 respectively". The gap between the rich and the poor is growing unabated. Many programmes aimed at alleviating poverty have failed. Garibi hatao, Roti, kapda aur makan, aam admi still remains in paper. Political will lacks in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. Add to it the reigning of corruption in the corridors of power. Due to corruption in the poverty alleviation programmes and the PDS system in vogue the real beneficiary does not get his due. Unless and the beneft of the poverty alleviation programme reaches the really needy and the poor, there is no use in talking from house tops about the eradication of poverty.

from:  N R Ramachandran
Posted on: Nov 4, 2010 at 21:03 IST
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