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Almost third of world’s poor in India, finds IMF-World Bank report

India was home to about a third of the world’s poor in 2011, according to a progress report on various social indicators from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)  issued Wednesday.

China, whose population is more than India’s 1.25 billion, had a mere 8% of the world’s poor, the Global Monitoring Report 2014-15 says. 

The report said 60% of the world’s poor resided in only five countries in 2011 — India, Nigeria, China, Bangladesh and Congo. Nigeria, which had 10% of the world’s poor, is wedged between India and China in the rankings while Bangladesh had 6% six and Congo had 5%. 

If another five countries – -Ethiopia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Madagascar and Tanzania — are taken into account, a little over 70% of the world’s poor resided in these 10 nations.

There were 1.01 billion poor in 2011 in the world, of which 30%, or 300 million, lived in India. India’s total population was 1.21 bn in 2011, which means 24.7% of population was poor in 2011, using a World Bank measure that describes anyone spending less than $ 1.25 a day as poor.

However, those numbers are actually an improvement over 2010, when32.68% of India’s population as poor. This meant a reduction of almost 8% in poverty levels in a year. Going further back, 2008 had 41.6% Indians as poor, according to WB estimates. The figures are based on purchasing power parity using a 2005 base.

The latest report noted this fact, saying the world’s most populous countries, China and India, have played a central role in the global reduction of poverty. “Together, they lifted 232 million people out of poverty from 2008 to 2011,” the report said.

The Bank’s calculation was close to India’s official figure for poverty at 21.9% in 2011-12. The official figure for 2011-12 was based on the Suresh Tendulkar Committee’s metric, according to which the poverty line was at Rs 33 a day expenditure by a person in urban areas and Rs 27 in villages.

After this measure came in for severe criticism, the government appointed a panel headed by former RBI governor C Rangarajan who was then head of the Prime Minister’s economic advisory council. This panel found 29.5% of India’s population was poor in 2011-12. The committee took the poverty line as Rs 47 expenditure a day in urban areas and Rs 32 in villages.

If the World Bank’s poverty line of $ 1.25 daily expenditure is raised to $ 1.51, as was done by the Asian Development Bank, close to half of India’s population was poor (47.5%) in 2010.

According to the IMF-World Bank report, 17% of the developing countries’ population was poor in 2011 and this is projected to come down to 5.7% in 2030. In South Asia, 24.5% of the population was poor in 2011, or roughly the same number as India. By 2030, no more than 2.1% of South Asia’s population is projected to be poor.

By 2030, 4.9% of the global population is projected to still be living in poverty, a number that the World Bank aims to bring down to 3%. However, as much as 23.6% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is likey to remain poor even then.

The report stressed skills education to raise employability among youth, quoting a study that found that poor training even among Indian university and college graduates was forcing companies in software, banking, pharmacautical and retail sectors to design their own training programmes.

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