M.P., Rajasthan, U.P., Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand do well in BPL reduction

There has been a steep reduction in poverty rate in rural areas compared to urban areas. The number of people living below poverty is estimated at 217 million in rural areas and 52 million in urban areas in 2011-12 against 326 million and 81 million respectively in 2004-05.

Poverty in India has declined to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12 from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05, according to the latest estimates of The Planning Commission exclusively accessed by The Hindu.

The decline in poverty was comparatively steeper in rural areas, where the percentage of people living below poverty line fell to 25.8 per cent (2011-12) from 42 per cent (2004-05). The poverty rate declined in rural areas by nearly 17 percentage points, between 2004-05 and 2011-12 against around 12 percentage points in urban areas at an all-India level.

According to this assessment of poverty, using the Suresh Tendulkar Committee methodology, in Sikkim, Goa, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh recorded the lowest poverty rate in urban areas in 2011-12. Sikkim had the lowest at 3.6 per cent BPL; Goa was at 4 per cent, Tamil Nadu stood at 6.3 and Andhra was 6.2.

The data also show that the steepest decline in poverty was in India's poorer states. Moreover, among the five states where rural areas performed better in terms of reduction of BPL include Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Whereas, the decline in the rural poverty rate in Madhya Pradesh fell from 53.6 per cent (2004-05) to nearly 36 per cent (2011-12). According to these estimates, Bihar shows a towering reduction from nearly 56 per cent (2004-05) to 35 per cent (2011-12). Odisha too reveals a significant decline — the State stands at 36 per cent (2011-2012) from 61 per cent (2004-05).

Situation in Assam

Assam saw a greater reduction in the percentage of the rural population coming out of poverty than their urban counterparts.In rural Assam, the BPL segment fell nearly three percentage points, from 36.4 per cent in 2004-05 to 33.6 per cent in 2011-12.

The figures were arrived at by the Planning Commission on the basis of the latest consumption expenditure.

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