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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

India lives in villages.......... and rural India is poor...

India is diverse and understanding India is akin to blindmen feeling different parts of elephant and assuming what it is….. India is not the metropolis of Mumbai – Delhi – Kolkatta – Chennai…. Infact each city is different too…….. the Indians living in villages are far different than those who enjoy life in cities…
From a predominantly agrarian society the face of India is changing – little by choice.. farmers are finding it difficult to cultivate and market their products – multinationals sell everything from drinking water, cool drinks, tender coconut water to beauty products ~ soaps, cakes, vanishing creams all sell more than basic needs……….. and they have cultivated market for all of them in rural India too……
For many everything from the basic needs of food, shelter and clothes are not available and they struggle for their livelihood…. Poverty has conventionally been estimated with reference to a poverty line – The line of cut-off between poor and non-poor. That poverty line is derived  on the basis of notion of a minimum nutritional requirement of a person, expressed in calories.  Orissa, Bihar, UP, are some of the States considered very poor though there are many poor persons in States like Maharashtra, parts of Andhra and more.  By some estimates,  Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of poor population at 7.37 crore, followed by Bihar and Maharashtra in 2009-10; Bihar and Maharashtra had poor population of 5.43 crore and 2.7 crore respectively in the year 2009-10 based on poverty line fixed using the Tendulakar Committee formula, as per data provided by the Planning Commission in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
Today’s TOI has this interesting report which states that : Odisha and Bihar have registered the sharpest decline in poverty levels between 2004-05 and 2011-12, although the proportion of the poor in these states remains well above the national average. Latest data released on Tuesday revealed that in Odisha, the proportion of people below thepoverty line (BPL) in total population came down from 57.2% in 2004-05 to 32.6% in 2011-12, a decline of 24.6 percentage points. In Bihar, which logged the fastest growth rate during the 11th five-year plan (2007-12), the share of BPL in total population was estimated at 33.7% in 2011-12, compared to 54.4% in 2004-05, a reduction by 20.7 percentage points.  
At the all-India level, the share of the BPL population was estimated at 21.9%, which is almost 270 million. This means that roughly every fifth Indian lives below the poverty line. The government has set the bar low, defining anyone earning Rs 27.20 or less in rural areas as BPL, while those earning up to Rs 33.30 a day in urban areas are classified as poor, though these benchmarks vary from state to state. Although things seem to looking up in the poor states, especially Bimaru, they still remain home to the maximum number of poor people in the country. While Uttar Pradesh has just under 30% of its population in the BPL group, the number adds up to almost 60 million. Bihar, despite the improvement, still has 35.8 million poor, and ranks second, followed by Madhya Pradesh where 23.4 million or 31.6% of the population is BPL. 
Among the Bimaru states, only Rajasthan has managed to do better than the national average with the share of BPL in total population estimated at 14.7% in 2011-12, compared to 34.4% in 2004-05. In fact, the state now is a better performer than Gujarat, famed for its rapid growth and good infrastructure. The state ruled by Narendra Modi had 16.6% people below the poverty line. The other important trend coming from the latest poverty estimates, which have traditionally created controversy, is the fact that rural India has seen faster improvement than urban centres. The decline in poverty was steeper in rural areas as BPL population came down to 25.8% (2011-12) from 42% (2004-05), around 17 percentage points, as against around 12 percentage points in urban areas.
On an all-India basis, there were 217 million poor in rural areas and 53 million in urban areas in 2011-12, as against 326 million and 81 million, respectively, in 2004-05. The final figures for 2011-12 are likely to be revised once a government-appointed committee under C Rangarajan submits its report on a new methodology for fixing the poverty line, but thePlanning Commission in its press release pointed out that this would only change the numbers, not the declining trend. 
…………. All these may still mean nothing to those really poor… mere statistics

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
PS : the portion in black majorly reproduced from Times of India today.


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