'Every third Indian lives in poverty'

The expert group, headed by former chairman of PM’s Economic Advisory Council Suresh Tendulkar, in its report on poverty said 41.8 per cent of the rural population spend a meagre amount of Rs 447 a month on essential necessities like food, fuel, light, clothing and footwear.

The situation is slightly better in urban areas, with 25.7 per cent being poor and they spend Rs 578.8 a month.

Among the states, Orissa and Bihar are the worst while Nagaland, Delhi and J&K have the least number of poor. However, according to the World Bank’s estimates, 41.6 per cent Indians live on less than US$ 1.25 a day, the international poverty line.

The World Bank in its report ‘Global Economic Prospects for 2009’ had projected that even by 2015, one-fourth of India’s population will be living in extreme poverty.
The Planning Commission in its own estimates had pegged poverty at 27.5 per cent. According to the Commission’s estimates, poverty in India came down from 35.97 per cent in 1993-94 to 27.54 per cent in 2004-05.

Although the Tendulkar report has estimated poverty at 37.2 per cent against the Plan panels estimate of 27.5 per cent, it said the estimates are “not comparable” as the former is based on new basket of goods.

In Orissa 57.2 per cent of population live under poverty. The poor in rural Orissa spend just Rs 407.78 per month and in urban areas their spending is Rs 497.31.

In Bihar 54.4 per cent of the population is poor. In Madhya Pradesh over 48.6 per cent of people live below poverty line with a rural person in the state having only Rs 408 to spend on their various necessities in a month.

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