Friday, December 29, 2006

200 mn Indians live on Rs 12 a day

December 28, 2006

The Indian economy may be growing in leaps and bounds and so are reports which seem to suggest that India is on its way to becoming a superpower. But the one question that leads to a never-ending debate is –Is India really shining ? The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report Level and Pattern of Consumer Expenditure, 2004-05released on Wednesday reveals that about one third of India’s rural population or over 200 million people still live on less than Rs 12 per day.

The report shows that Orissa, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and UP remain the poorest states in the country in terms of Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) of rural population. “Compared with 30 per cent at the all-India level, in Orissa and Chattisgarh as many as 55-57 per cent of villagers were, in 2004-05, living below the MPCE level of Rs 365, which is Rs 12 a day,” news agency PTI quoted a part of the NSSO report as saying. It adds that 10 per cent of all-India rural population was living at just Rs 9 per day.

In Madhya Pradesh, 47 per cent of rural population is living on Rs 12 a day followed by Bihar and Jharkhand (46 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (33 per cent), Karnataka (32 per cent) and Maharashtra (30 per cent). The study defines the items of consumption as clothing, footwear, education, medical care, durable goods and all other items like food, fuel, light, rents and taxes.

However, the Urban poor appeared to be faring slightly better as 30 per cent of such people was found to be spending Rs 580 per month, that is Rs 19 a day.

But 10 per cent of the urban population had to live at just Rs 13 a day in 2004-05. Urban poverty seems to be concentrated in those states, where rural poverty is high.

In Bihar, as much as 55 per cent of urban population is living at Rs 19 per day, followed by Orissa (50 per cent), UP and Chattisgarh (44 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (43 per cent) and Rajasthan (36 per cent). Based on a sample of around 80,000 rural and 45,000 urban households, the survey report noted that one-tenth of rural India was spending as much as Rs 890 per month in 2004-05, which amounts to living on Rs 10,880 per capita annual expenditure. In urban India, the top 10 per cent rich people are spending as much Rs 1,880 per month, which amounts to Rs 22,560 per capita annual expenditure.

According to the report, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat emerged as the richest states, where as much as 57, 51, 47 and 26 per cent of the rural population was spending at least Rs 690 per person monthly as compared to 20 per cent all-India figures. The report also pointed out that the monthly per capita expenditure in rural and urban India was also affected by the size of family, besides other factors.

At the state level, the report observed that the rural poverty based on Rs 12 a day per capita expenditure in West Bengal (24 per cent), Gujarat (21 per cent), Assam and Rajasthan (17 per cent) was also lower than the all-India average of 30 per cent rural population.

(With inputs from PTI)

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