Bihar is the poorest state in the country, reveals data released by the Planning Commission on Monday. Odisha, the poorest state as per the previous data released in 2004-05, is way better-off than Bihar, Chattisgarh, Manipur, Jharkhand, Dadra and Nagar, Uttar Pradesh and Assam.
The percentage of people below the poverty line in Odisha has gone down from 57.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 37 per cent in 2009-10.
Bihar, riding high on reforms implemented by Nitish Kumar, however, witnessed marginal fall in the percentage of population below the poverty line, from 54.4 per cent in 2004-05 to 53.5 per cent in 2009-10.
The data suggested that Madhya Pradesh, with a 36.7 per cent of the population below the poverty line, West Bengal with 26.7 per cent, Rajasthan with 24.8 per cent and Andhra Pradesh with 21.1 per cent, have succeeded in eradicating poverty to a considerable extent.
With only 0.4 per cent and little over one per cent of the population living below the poverty line, Andaman and Nicobar islands and Puduchery respectively seems to be free of the menace of poverty, the data said. This apart, the number of poor are comparatively less in Lakshdweep, Chandigarh, Delhi, Kerala and Sikkim.
According to the Planning Commission, poverty ratio in Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttarakhand has declined by about 10 percentage points.
The study further said Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland has become poorer. In rural India, STs exhibit the highest level of poverty at 47.4 per cent, followed by the SCs at 42.3 per cent and OBCs at 31.9 per cent. In urban areas, poverty ratio is highest for the Muslims at 33.9 per cent.