India was home to about a third of the world's poor in 2011, according to a progress report on various social indicators from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued on Wednesday. In other words, the highest number of the poor lived in India in 2011.
China, whose population is more than our billion-plus number, had only eight per cent, says data given in the Global Monitoring Report 2014-15.
The report said three-fifths of the world’s poor resided in only five countries in 2011 —India, Nigeria, China, Bangladesh and Congo. Between India and China was Nigeria, which had 10 per cent of the world’s poor. Bangladesh had six per cent and Congo had five per cent.
If another five countries —Ethiopia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Madagascar and Tanzania —are taken into account, a little over 70 per cent of the world’s poor resided in these 10 nations.
There were 1.01 billion poor in 2011 in the world (14.5 per cent of the population in the world), of which 30 per cent lived in India. This meant 300 million in India. India’s total population was 1.21 bn in 2011. The estimate is 24.7 per cent of India's population as poor in 2011, by the World Bank measure of so classifying anyone spending less than $1.25 a day.
The bright side is that the Bank had earlier given poverty figures for 2010 in India and that showed 32.68 per cent of the population as poor. This meant a reduction by almost eight percentage points in a year. And, in 2008, 41.6 per cent of Indians were poor, according to Bank estimates. These figures are based on purchasing power parity of 2005.
The Bank’s calculation was close to India’s official figure for poverty at 21.9 per cent in 2011-12. The estimate depends on the way the poverty line is defined. The official figure for 2011-12 was based on the Suresh Tendulkar method, according to which the line was Rs 33 a day expenditure by a person in urban areas and Rs 27 in villages.
After this was criticised, the government appointed a panel headed by C Rangarajan, then the Prime Minister’s economic advisory council head. This panel found 29.5 per cent of India's population was poor in 2011-12. The committee took the poverty line as Rs 47 expenditure a day in urban areas and Rs 32 in villages.
If the World Bank’s poverty line of $1.25 daily expenditure is raised to $1.51, which was done by the Asian Development Bank, close to half of India’s population was poor (47.5 per cent) in 2010.
World Bank Vice-President and chief economist Kaushik Basu admitted the poverty line could drawing a flak but also said the larger issue is the huge number of poor in the world.
“If it is shocking to have a poverty line as low as $1.25 per day and it is even more shocking that 1/7th of the world’s population lives below this line,” said Basu.
According to the IMF-Bank report, 17 per cent of the developing countries’ population was poor in 2011 and this is projected to come down to 5.7 per cent in 2030. Taking the narrower group of South Asia, 24.5 per cent of the population was poor in 2011, roughly the same as with India. By 2030, no more than 2.1 per cent of South Asia’s population is projected to be poor.
By 2030, 4.9 per cent of the world’s population is forecast to be poor. The Bank aims to bring it down to three per cent by then. Even in 2030, as much as 23.6 per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to be poor.
The report laid stress on skills education to raise employability among youth. It quoted a study to emphasise that as many university and college graduates are poorly trained in India, companies in the software, banking, pharmacautical and retail sectors are increasingly designing their own training programmes and even building campuses to train recruits.