Urban Poverty Declines in India: Niti Aayog’s Progress Review 

India has made significant strides in reducing multidimensional poverty, according to the ‘National Multidimensional Poverty Index: A Progress Review 2023’ released by the Niti Aayog in New Delhi on July 17, 2023. The report reveals that the country has witnessed a remarkable decline of 9.89 percentage points in the number of multidimensionally poor individuals, dropping from 24.85% in 2015-16 to 14.96% in 2019-2021. This positive trend signifies that approximately 13.5 crore people have emerged from multidimensional poverty during the assessed period.

The report highlights that the most rapid decline in poverty occurred in rural areas, where the poverty rate decreased from 32.59% to 19.28%. This achievement can be attributed to the reduction in the number of multidimensionally poor individuals in states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan. On the other hand, states like Delhi, Kerala, Goa, and Tamil Nadu, along with the Union Territories, exhibit the lowest incidence of multidimensional poverty. Conversely, Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh have the highest proportions of their population living in multidimensional poverty.

In urban areas, the report indicates a decline in multidimensional poverty from 8.65% to 5.27% during the same period. Uttar Pradesh stands out with the largest poverty reduction, as 3.43 crore people have escaped multidimensional poverty in the state.

The report’s methodology aligns with global standards and is based on 12 parameters, encompassing health, education, and standard of living. These parameters contribute to various factors such as nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, maternal health, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets, and bank accounts. The MPI value for India has nearly halved from 0.117 to 0.066 between 2015-16 and 2019-21, indicating a substantial improvement. Furthermore, the intensity of poverty has reduced from 47% to 44% during the same period.

Suman Bery, Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog, emphasised the significance of this index in understanding the complexities of poverty and formulating inclusive solutions. By prioritising specific indicators and dimensions, policymakers can focus on reaching the most marginalised populations first. These findings also contribute to India’s commitment to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030), which aim to reduce multidimensional poverty.

The report commends the Indian government’s unwavering dedication to enhancing the lives of citizens and creating a brighter future for all. The noteworthy progress made in providing electricity, access to bank accounts, and drinking water showcase the government’s commitment to improving the well-being of its people.

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