While India has regained the tag of the fastest growing major economy even as China grapples with an ongoing slowdown in growth, the Dragon is winning laurels for its “historic” efforts to alleviate poverty. According to latest data by the Chinese government, 37,000 people were lifted out of poverty every day over the past five years, resulting in poverty reduction from 10.2% to 3.1%.
Moreover, Xi Jinping government has set the target of lifting 10 million people out of poverty this year while setting a lowball target of 6.5%, “omitting an intention to hit a faster pace if possible”. It is also notable that China’s Premiere is poised to take forward policies to curb poverty, pollution and financial risks, after country’s GDP grew in double-digits and mostly above 7% since 1980 to become the world’s largest economy.
According to World Bank data, China lifted nearly 800 million people out of poverty since the 1980s, which its President Jim Yong Kim said was “historic”. But the challenge is far from over. According to World Bank’s estimates, 25 million people live in China in extreme deprivation.
However, those comparing India and China on poverty reduction must consider that both countries are at different stages of economic development. The Narendra Modi government, currently, is focused on making India a business and investment-friendly country. Hence, India is poised to grow above 7% in coming years — a target that has already been achieved by China.
In 2011, the World Bank data showed that about 276 million people in India, 22% of total population, were living in poverty. The 2015 data for China showed that the country had 55.8 million people, 5.6% of the total population, under the poverty line.
The World Bank gives credit for the successful poverty reduction plan to a shift from an agricultural sector to skill-and knowledge-intensive sectors. “Forty years ago, China was a largely agricultural poor economy, and that today it has one of the world’s largest economies, with its people moving into more skill-and knowledge-intensive sectors.”
“Nearly all segments of the population, including the poor and vulnerable, have shared the benefits of this progress- and China has ambitious plans to reach those who are still left behind,” the World Bank said.