Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) says 55% of India is poor

The new international Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) has published in its report that 645 million people or 55% of India's population is poor. India's inability to ensure basic levels of nutrition is the greatest contributor to its poverty. The new measure says that that acute poverty prevails in eight Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, together accounting for more poor people than in the 26 poorest African nations combined.
The MPI has been developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) for the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) forthcoming 2010 Human Development Report. It is composed of ten indicators measuring health, education and standard of living. The indicators used are:

• Education: Years of schooling and child enrollment (1/6 weightage each); 
• Health: Child mortality and nutrition (1/6 weightage each);
• Standard of living: Electricity, flooring, drinking water, sanitation, cooking fuel and assets (1/18 weightage each)
An analysis by the MPI analysis has concluded that there are more ‘MPI poor’ people in eight Indian states (421 million in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal) than in the 26 poorest African countries combined (410 million). The MPI takes into account a range of critical factors or ‘deprivations’ at the household level: from education to health outcomes to assets and services. UNDP and OPHI claim that the new measure provides a fuller portrait of acute poverty than simple income measures. 
The report states that even the most prosperous states have more than 40% of their population as poor by the new composite measure. Kerala is the only state in which the poor constitute less than 20%. The MPI measures not only the incidence of poverty but its intensity also. It defines a person as poor if he or she is deprived on at least 3 of the 10 indicators. By this definition, 55% of India is poor; almost double the official poverty figure of 29%. 

Almost 20% of Indians are deprived on 6 of the 10 indicators. 40% of those who are defined as poor are also nutritionally deprived. Thus nutritional deprivation comes out as the largest factor in estimating poverty. Multi-dimensional poverty is highest (81.4% poor) among Scheduled Tribes, followed by Scheduled Castes (65.8%), Other Backward Class (58.3%) and the general population (33.3%). 

The MPI data differs significantly from the Planning Commissions official data. As per the report Bihar becomes the poorest state in the country with 81.4% of its population as poor. UP comes next with around 70% poor population. But as per the Planning Commission's data, 41.4% of Bihar and 32.8% of UP is poor. Again MPI projects 60% of north-east India and 50% of Jammu & Kashmir as poor while the official data are 16% and 5% respectively. 

The new measure is expected to help target development resources more effectively. The 2010 UNDP Human Development Report will be published in late October, but research findings from the Multidimensional Poverty Index were made available on 14th July 2010 at a policy forum in London and online on the websites of OPHI and the UNDP Human Development Report. The Human Poverty Index, which has been a part of the annual Human Development Report since 1997, will be replaced by MPI.
About UNDP
• The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is at the core of the developmental initiative of the UN and serves as the United Nations' global development network. It seeks to address the need to bring change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.
• UNDP is operating in 166 countries and it is working with nations on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. The development of the local capacity in the countries is blended with the capabilities and resources of the people of UNDP and its wide range of partners.
• It works as an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly.
• Funded entirely by voluntary contributions from member nations, UNDP is headquartered in New York City.
• Providing expert advice, training and grant support to developing countries ( with a marked emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries ), UNDP has also been engaged in helping countries in achieving Millennium Development Goals( MDGs).
• Human Development Report is an annual report published by UNDP to measure and analyze developmental progress. In addition to a global Report, UNDP publishes regional, national, and local Human Development Reports.

About HPI

The Human Poverty Index is an indication of the standard of living in a country, developed by the United Nations. 
For developing countries (HPI-1)
According to the HDR reports - it is a composite index measuring deprivations in the three basic dimensions captured in the human development index — a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living.

For selected OECD countries (HPI-2)-

HDR reports define it as a composite index measuring deprivations in the three basic dimensions captured in the human development index — a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living — and also capturing social exclusion.

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