Bihar has emerged as the poorest state as per the first-ever Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) prepared by Niti Aayog. As per the index, Bihar has the highest proportion of people with 51.91 per cent of the state’s population falling under the multidimensionally poor category. Bihar is followed by Jharkhand at 42.16 per cent and Uttar Pradesh at 37.79 per cent.
The aim of the MPI is to measure poverty across multiple dimensions and in effect complements existing poverty statistics based on per capita consumption expenditure. The MPI has three dimensions – health, education, and standard of living represented by 12 indicators which includes nutrition, school attendance, years of schooling, drinking water, sanitation, bank accounts etc.
The report also showed that Bihar has the highest number of malnourished people compared to other states. According to a report in the Indian Express, the baseline report of the MPI measure is based on the reference period of 2015-16 of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
“The development of the National Multidimensional Poverty Index of India is an important contribution towards instituting a public policy tool which monitors multidimensional poverty, informs evidence-based and focused interventions, thereby ensuring that no one is left behind. This report presents an in-depth analysis of the headcount ratio and intensity of multidimensional poverty at the national, State/UT, and district levels,” said NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar in a foreword to the report.
The methodology used to calculate MPI was developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and is globally acceptable.