About a year back, there was a flurry of articles celebrating the post-reforms/liberalisation decline of poverty levels in India.
Govt of India's press release concluded based on NSS (National Sample Survey) 61st round that, from a poverty level of 36% in 1993-94, by 2004-05:
One news report noted:
"The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government may have been voted out of office in 2004 as its "India Shining" campaign boomeranged, but official data now available shows that more people moved above the poverty line by 2004-05 compared with the earlier estimates of 1999-2000.
As per the provisional data of the 61st round of large sample survey on household consumer expenditure, the poverty ratio at the national level was about 22 per cent in 2004-05, down from the roughly comparable data for 1999-2000 which showed a poverty level of 26.1 per cent for that year."
This, to say the least, is a great achievement!
(for a country with the population like India, bringing 4-6% of populace above poverty line in such a short period is equivalent to bringing almost the entire population of countries like UK or France above the poverty line)
... Till one starts looking at the "definition of poverty" in India:
The NSS data divides "the poor" into six groups:
1. Extremely Poor/BPL whose average per capita consumption income is Rs.9/day
2. Above the Poverty Line, earning is upto Rs.12/ day
3. The Marginally Poor earning Rs upto Rs.15/day
4. The Vulnerable, earning above Rs 15 but less than Rs.20/day
5. The Middle Income earning Rs.37/day, and
6. The High Income, earning above Rs.93/day.
($1 = Rs. 40/- approx)
POINT TO NOTE:
Meanwhile... 836 million people in India live on a per capita consumption of less than Rs.20/day!!