Cooking fuel, sanitation, and electricity are three counts on which the deprivation rate among Indians fell during 2019-20 over 2014-15, according to a recent report on multidimensional poverty by the NITI Aayog.
Even then, over 40 per cent of the population had to depend on dung, agricultural crops, shrubs, wood, charcoal, or coal as cooking fuel during 2019-20, according to the first ever report on the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) by the Aayog.
Also, close to 30 per cent of the population did not have a proper sanitation facility including toilet at home during 2019-20, showed the data provided in the report. Over half the population were deprived of cooking fuel and sanitation during 2015-16, according to the report, based on the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
Those deprived in terms of cooking fuel constituted 58.5 per cent of the population and 52 per cent lacked sanitation facilities that year. The NFHS recently came up with a factsheet for 2019-20. Based on that, the MPI report said the proportion of those deprived of cooking fuel fell to 41.4 per cent for 2019-20.
Those deprived of sanitation constituted 29.8 per cent of the population in 2019-20.
A household was taken as deprived on the parameter of sanitation if it had unimproved or no sanitation facility or it had an improved facility but shared with other households. Improved sanitation includes toilet facility which is not shared with other households.
Besides, the percentage of those who did not have electricity at home fell from 12.2 per cent in 2015-16 to 3.2 per cent during 2019-20. However, the findings for 2019-20 are preliminary. The Aayog will come up with its report for 2019-20 after the NFHS brings its final findings for the year.
“The baseline report will be updated upon the release of the NFHS-5 (2019-20) dataset,” Aayog Vice-Chairperson Rajiv Kumar said.
Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant said the subsequent update of the report would capture the strides the country had taken to improve the lives of households across these multifaceted parameters.
The NFHS may take five-six months to come up with its data sets for 2019-20, a senior official said.
Besides these three parameters, there were nine others on which deprivation was measured -- nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, antenatal care, years of schooling, school attendance, drinking water, housing, assets, and bank accounts. Provisional estimates of deprivation on these counts are not available.