Multidimensional poverty in India: decoding the Niti Aayog report | In Focus podcast

Arun Kumar speaks to us about whether Niti Aayog’s claims are based on hard data, and if a reduction in multidimensional poverty headcount actually means a reduction in poverty.

January 19, 2024 04:15 pm | Updated 04:15 pm IST

A new paper released by the NITI Aayog has claimed that multidimensional poverty (MDI) has declined from 29.17% in 2013-14 to 11.28% in 2022-23, and that 24.82 crore people “escaped” from multidimensional poverty during this 9-year period. Titled ‘Multidimensional Poverty in India since 2005-06: A Discussion Paper’, the NITI Aayog report claims that India is well on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 1.2) of “halving multidimensional poverty” by 2030.

The report also claims that various government initiatives such as Poshan Abhiyan, Anaemia Mukt Bharat and Ujjwala Yojana have played a major role in mitigating different forms of deprivation.

On the face of it, India managing to reduce its poverty head count is a great achievement. But at the same time, development economists have been complaining about the increasing paucity in relevant data. Are Niti Aayog’s claims based on hard data or are they projections? Does a reduction in multidimensional poverty headcount actually mean a reduction in poverty? And how do these claims square with India’s worsening rank in the Global Hunger Index, for instance?

Guest: economist Arun Kumar, Malcolm Adiseshiah Chair Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi.

Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu.

Edited by Sharmada Venkatasubramanian.

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