Has India Made Striking Progress in Reducing Multidimensional Poverty?

Good Governance: The report attributes the decline in poverty to government initiatives such as the Poshan Abhiyan and Anaemia Mukt Bharat, which have significantly reduced health-related deprivations.

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A recent report released by Niti Aayog, titled 'National Multidimensional Poverty Index: A Progress Review 2023,' highlights the substantial progress India has made in reducing multidimensional poverty. The report indicates that between 2015-16 and 2019-21, as many as 13.5 crore (135 million) people in India moved out of multidimensional poverty, with notable improvements in health, education, and standard of living.

Overall Decline in Multidimensional Poverty:

According to the report, India's multidimensional poverty index (MPI) experienced a significant decline of 9.89 percentage points, decreasing from 24.85 percent in 2015-16 to 14.96 percent in 2019-21. The MPI measures deprivations across three equally weighted dimensions: health, education, and standard of living, represented by 12 SDG-aligned indicators.

The report highlights that rural areas witnessed the fastest decline in poverty, with the proportion decreasing from 32.59 percent to 19.28 percent. Urban areas also experienced a reduction in poverty, albeit at a slower rate, with the percentage dropping from 8.65 percent to 5.27 percent.

All 12 indicators used to measure multidimensional poverty demonstrated marked improvement, according to the report. These indicators include nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, maternal health, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets, and bank accounts.

Contributing Govt Initiatives:

The report attributes the decline in poverty to the government's dedicated focus on improving access to sanitation, nutrition, cooking fuel, financial inclusion, drinking water, and electricity. Initiatives such as the Poshan Abhiyan and Anaemia Mukt Bharat have played a significant role in reducing health-related deprivations. Additionally, the Swachh Bharat Mission, Jal Jeevan Mission, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), Saubhagya, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), and Samagra Shiksha have collectively contributed to the positive outcomes.

The report identifies Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan as the states that witnessed the fastest reduction in the proportion of multidimensional poverty. These regions have made significant strides in improving the well-being of their populations.

India is on track to achieve SDG Target 1.2, which aims to reduce multidimensional poverty by at least half, well ahead of the 2030 deadline. The report suggests that the progress made in reducing poverty aligns with the broader objectives of sustainable development.

UN Report:

Also, according to the latest update of the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford, India has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty. The report highlights that within just 15 years, from 2005/2006 to 2019/2021, a total of 415 million people in India moved out of poverty.