Poverty in at least eight States — Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand — was worse than in some of the poorest countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
In a week when Delhi's new “world-class” airport opened for business and the Indian Space Research Organisation celebrated the successful launch of five new satellites, we had a stark reminder of another India that, increasingly, many Indians feel embarrassed to talk about. A United Nations-backed study by Oxford University revealed that poverty in at least eight Indian States — Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand — was worse than in some of the poorest countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
The findings are based on a global poverty index, the Multidimensional Poverty Index or MPI, developed by Oxford University. It takes into account a range of social factors not hitherto considered while measuring poverty and will replace the Human Poverty Index (HPI) which, until now, has formed the basis for the annual U.N. Human Development Reports.
How's the new index significantly different from the traditional ways of measuring poverty and how will it make a difference on the ground? Here, Dr. Sabina Alkire, Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), who has travelled extensively in India, speaks to Hasan Suroor:
Were you surprised by the finding that there are more poor people in eight Indian States than in the 26 poorest African states combined?
No, I wasn't really surprised, as the scale of Indian poverty is well known within the academic world —whether measured in income terms or multi-dimensionally. But the recent focus on India's phenomenal growth in the media has given the impression that the largest numbers of very poor people are in Sub-Saharan Africa rather than South Asia (where there are nearly twice as many MPI poor than in Africa). We wanted to test that impression.
From a thought provoking article in The Hindu. More Here.