Poverty decreasing in South India, says UN report

Poverty decreasing in South India, says UN report

The level of poverty in southern India is decreasing while it is the reverse in the northern parts of the country, says the international body in its latest report.

The share of the total number of poor in southern states — Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu — decreased from 18 per cent in 1993-1994 to 15 per cent in 1999-2000.

Rise in some states
In contrast, the number of poor in the northern states — Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh plus the eastern state of West Bangal — jumped from 57 per cent to 63 per cent during the same period.

The world body asked the government to immediately show its attention towards solving this regional disparity in alleviation of the poverty in its “Rethinking Poverty” report as part of the UN’s report on World Social Situation 2010. The report was released in Delhi earlier this week.

Interestingly, the report says the decline of poverty is fast in the country both in rural and urban areas since the early 1970s. Between 1973-1974 and 2004-05 the proportion of people living below the poverty line in India declined fastest in rural areas from 56.4 to 28.3 per cent and urban areas from 49.2 to 25.7 per cent.

Though India has witnessed high growth on the economic front and it has helped upgrade the living standards of its people, it was not sufficiently broadbased to reduce poverty in absolute levels, says the report.

“The high GDP growth has not been sufficiently inclusive and pro-poor to reduce the absolute numbers of people living in poverty. Income inequalities have grown steadily in India since the 1980s, in both urban and rural areas,” said the report.

According to the report, privatisation had harmed the poor, either through loss of employment and income or through exclusion from basic services in the country.
At the same time, weak governance and regulatory capacity in many developing countries led to the poor control of market abuses by private companies.

Ups and Downs
The share of the foursouthern states fell from 18 pc in 1993-94 to 15 pc in 1999-2000
The number went up from 57 pc to 63 pc in the northern states during the same period
Declining rate of poverty fast in both rural and urban areas
High economic growth not sufficiently broad based to reduce poverty at actual levels

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