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India likely to halve poverty rate by 2015: U.N. report

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat flanked by Karin Hulshof, UNICEF representative in India (left) and Jayati Ghosh, professor of Economics and chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, at a function to release the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report 2010, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: V. Sudershan

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat flanked by Karin Hulshof, UNICEF representative in India (left) and Jayati Ghosh, professor of Economics and chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, at a function to release the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report 2010, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: V. Sudershan   | Photo Credit: V_Sudershan

India is expected to reduce its poverty rate from 51 per cent in 1990 to 24 per cent in 2015, slashing the number of extremely poor by 188 million. But progress in the rest of South Asia is not sufficient to halve the level of poverty by that target date, according to a United Nations report on the Millennium Development Goals for 2010.

The sharpest reductions worldwide continue to be recorded in East and South-East Asia, where the MDG target to halve extreme poverty has already been met, while most of South Asia is in danger of missing it.

The percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day in East Asia dropped from 60 in 1990 to just 16 in 2005, and from 39 to 19 in South-East Asia.

The rate of poverty in China is expected to fall to around five per cent by 2015.

The report suggests that while the economic crisis took a heavy toll of jobs and incomes around the world, its impact does not threaten to derail the MDG target of cutting extreme poverty by 50 per cent.

Economic troubles

But it also indicates that progress against hunger has been impacted more severely by economic troubles. The ability of the poor to feed their families was hit by skyrocketing prices in 2008, and falling incomes in 2009.

Malnourishment

In East Asia, after a striking drop in the prevalence of hunger in the 1990s, the rate of malnourishment stalled at 10 per cent between 2000 and 2007. South-East Asia, already close to the target of cutting the hunger rate by half against the 1990 levels, made additional progress but it was not as rapid as its rate of poverty reduction. In South Asia, the prevalence of hunger actually increased from 20 to 21 per cent between 2000-2002 and 2005-2007.

Releasing the report, Brinda Karat, MP, expressed the hope that the Centre would look at the report with the seriousness it deserved. “Though the report is optimistic of meeting the MDGs, it cannot be achieved unless accompanied by a reversal of the current policies.”

Food security was crucial for achieving the goals, she said calling for urgently putting into effect legislation on food security.

Official statistics on the number of the poor in the country seemed incorrect, as all other indicators were showing a negative trend, she said.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 11:50:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/India-likely-to-halve-poverty-rate-by-2015-U.N.-report/article16265678.ece

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