Though India’s poverty rates fell from 51% to 37% between 1990 and 2008 it will still not reach the required Poverty Headcount Ratio (percentage of population below the national poverty line) of 23.9% by 2015 to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG). Now, the national HCR stands at 47.8% and India will achieve poverty HCR level of 26.72% by 2015.
The Millennium Development a goal, 2012, report, released by the United Nations says by 2015, 1 billion people will live on less than $1.25 – a global poverty rate of 16%. A staggering 80% of the extremely poor will live in either Sub-Saharan Africa or Southern Asia (India is the biggest country there). India will also fail to halve — between 1990 and 2015 — the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. Undernourished children are a significant indicator of food insecurity. From an estimated 52% in 1990, the proportion of underweight children below three years is required to be reduced to 26% by 2015, according to the MDG.
But the proportion of underweight children has declined from 43% to about 40% during 1998-99 to 2005-06. At this rate of decline, the proportion of underweight children below three years is expected to come down to only about 33% by 2015.
Larger states have more underweight children which is above the national level of 40%. They include
- Madhya Pradesh
- Bihar – 57.9%
- Jharkhand – 54.6%
- Chattisgarh – 47.8%
- Meghalaya – 42.9%
- Uttar Pradesh – 41.6%
- Gujarat – 41.1%
Only six states — Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab — are likely to achieve their own MDGs by 2015. Frederika Meijer, UN Resident Coordinator, said, “Hunger remains a global challenge. Around 850 million people live in hunger, 237 million in India — the disparity is greatest in southern Asia.”
India has the largest population of underfed and underweight children. In the developing regions, the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47% in 1990 to 24% in 2008. In 2008, about 110 million fewer people than in 2005 lived in extreme poverty. The number fell from 2 billion in 1990 to less than 1.4 billion in 2008.