Blot on growth story: the emergence of ultra poor

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Nov 7 | Updated: Nov 8 2007, 04:15am hrs
Poverty alleviation programmes in India have not been able to create a balanced impact, according to a recent survey. There are still a large number of people living on less than 50 cents a day. Bangladesh has fared better than India in terms of poverty alleviation, a study by the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said.

IFPRI has found 162 million people of the world living on less than 50 cents a day and has termed them ultra poor. It has divided the poor into three distinct categories subjacent poor living on 75 cents to $1 a day, medial poor living on 50 cents to 75 cents a day and ultra poor living on less than 50 cents a day. There are 485 million subjacent poor and 322 million medial poor in the world.

Analysing the household data for the period 1990-2004, the IFRI studyThe Worlds Most Deprivedsaid that South Asia accounted for 12% of the worlds poorest people (19.7 million). In India poverty alleviation has not gathered momentum, while in the Bangladesh poverty rates relating to all the three categories of poor have fallen since the end of 1990s.

The study conducted by the team leader, Akhter U Ahmed said, In India, the medial poor fared better than the subjacent poor and the ultra poor (marginally). Although Bangladesh achieved minimal poverty reduction from 1990 to 2004, it is remarkable that the ultra poor fared better than they would have had all those below the line fared equally, suggesting that the severity of poverty lessened in the country.

According to the study, like East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia achieved remarkable growth rates during 1990s, about 5%, however the region was less able than East Asia and the Pacific to convert this growth to reduction in poverty. The ultra poor benefited the least from progress in this region and those living in medial poverty benefited the most. According to IFPRI, from 1990 to 2004, the number of people living on less than $1 per day in the world fell from 1.25 billion to 969 million or in other words poverty reduced from 2b.7% to 18%.