Rural poverty is becoming increasingly concentrated to northern and eastern states of the country, while the southern states are faring well in its alleviation, a new report has found.
"The decline in poverty has been far from uniform across the states. It is evident that rural poverty is becoming increasingly concentrated in Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, MP and UP," says the report, released by Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today.
The report finds that the number of rural poor in these states in increasing.
The report was prepared by IDFC Foundation in collaboration with network partners-- the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), the Institute for Rural Management Anand (IRMA), and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR).
"In 1993-94, nearly 50 per cent of India's rural poor lived in these states. This figure rose to 63 per cent in 2009-10 and 65 per cent in 2011-12," says the report, adding that the states with higher cases of rural poverty also have higher cases of severe poverty.
It says that the poverty is markedly high among Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes in the rural areas.
"Poverty among SCs and STs declined faster than the average between 2004 and 2010, but they constitute 44 per cent of the rural poor despite representing 30 per cent of the rural population," the report says.
More than half the Scheduled Tribes in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, and nearly 70 per cent in Bihar and Chhattisgarh are poor, it says.
The report also throws light on the poverty levels within various minority communities.
According to it, Muslim and Buddhist communities have higher rates of poverty, whereas Sikh and Christian communities have lower rates of poverty.
"This difference in religious and social groups is largely attributed to inequality and discrimination faced in accessing educational opportunities, capital endowments and restricted occupational mobility," it says.