260 million Indians still below poverty line
- 260 million Indians still below poverty line
A LARGE proportion 26 per cent or about 260 million (193 million in
rural areas and 67 million in urban areas) of Indians are still
below the poverty line, according to India's first Social Development
Report released in New Delhi on Friday.
The spatial map and social base of poverty have significantly changed
over time and poverty is increasingly concentrated in a few
geographical locations and among specific social groups. Among the
States, Punjab has the lowest incidence of poverty (6.16 per cent as
per 1999-2000 figures), followed by Haryana with 8.74 per cent, and
Kerala with 12.72 per cent. Orissa has the highest number of people
living below the poverty line (47.15 per cent), followed by Bihar
(42.60 per cent), and Assam (36.09 per cent). While poverty levels
have shown a decline, there is huge disparity among the social
classes with the percentage of the poor among the Scheduled Tribes
being 43.8 per cent, Scheduled Castes 36.2 per cent, and Other
Backward Classes 21 per cent.
Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, which account
for 45 per cent of the country's population, also account for two-
thirds of the infant mortality rate in the country (26 per cent in
Uttar Pradesh alone), and two-thirds of the maternal mortality rate.
Less than 25 per cent of the children in these States are immunised.
Rural Kerala tops the States in social indicators followed by
Himachal Pradesh. Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, and Haryana figure among
the best-performing States while Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh,
Madhya Pradesh, and Orissa are at the bottom. The 21 indicators taken
into account while grading the States included demography, health
care, education, unemployment, poverty and social deprivation.
In the urban scenario, Kerala has been pushed to the third rank.
Himachal Pradesh tops the list followed by Punjab, Karnataka, and
Assam. At the bottom are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand,
Chhattisgarh, and Orissa.
The report, brought out by the Council for Social Development and
Oxford, says Kerala has the lowest infant mortality rate of 11 deaths
per 1,000 births, followed by Mizoram and Goa at 16. Orissa has the
highest IMR of 83 deaths per 1,000 births, Madhya Pradesh has 82, and
Uttar Pradesh 76.
Among the disadvantaged classes, the IMR is higher among Scheduled
Castes (83). It is 85.2 among the Scheduled Tribes, and 76 among the
other disadvantaged classes compared to the rate of 61.8 among the
rest of the population. A similar trend is witnessed with regard to
the mortality rate of children under five, underweight children,
children and women with anaemia.
The report brings out the need to harness the nation's social energy
to ensure a fair and equitable process of development, identifies key
concerns, and proposes possible intervention measures.
Kerala has the highest literacy rate of 90.92 per cent, followed by
Mizoram at 88.49 per cent, and Goa at 82.32 per cent. Bihar has the
lowest literacy rate of 47.53 per cent, Jharkhand 54.13 per cent, and
Jammu and Kashmir 54.46. However, Mizoram tops the States with the
lowest gender gap in literacy with a difference of only 4.56
In Meghalaya it is 5.73 percentage points and 6.34 percentage points
in Kerala. Rajasthan has shown a large gap in gender literacy of
32.12 percentage points, Jharkhand 28.56 percentage points, and U.P.
27.25 percentage points.
Ironic as it may sound, Punjab ranks high in the urban social
indicators but has the lowest child sex ratio of 798 girls to 1,000
boys. Haryana is slightly better at 819 and Gujarat is at 883. The
traditional societies, including tribal communities, have an
impressive sex ratio of 975 girls to 1,000 boys (Chhattisgarh), 973
(Meghalaya), and 966 in Tripura much higher than the national
figure of 906.