Bihar ranks first as the poorest state in the Multidimensional Poverty Index published by NITI Aayog. Also Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the states with least poverty.
Niti Aayog has published the ‘National Multidimensional Poverty Index – 2023’ report based on the data of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16 and 2019-21. It is calculated based on the dimensions of health, education and quality of life.
It consists of 12 aspects namely Nutrition, Child-Adolescent Mortality, Maternal Health, Year of Schooling, School Attendance, Cooking Fuel, Sanitation, Drinking Water, Electricity, Housing, Assets and Bank Account.
The report indicates that India has progressed well over previous years in the Multidimensional Poverty Index as calculated. It has been mentioned that Bihar has the highest number of poor people in the country at 33.76 percent (2019-21) when compared with state-wise population.
It is noteworthy that the poverty rate in Bihar has decreased compared to the previous NFHS report of 2015-16. It has been mentioned that in the last report (2015-16) it was 51.89 percent and it has decreased by 18.13 percent and now it is 33 percent. However, this number is much higher than other states.
Jharkhand and Meghalaya are the second and third states listed with 28.81 and 27.79 percent poverty respectively. Like all the states these states have developed well over the past years. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh (22.93%) and Madhya Pradesh (20.63%) at the fourth and fifth positions.
Status of Tamil Nadu
While many states in the north fare poorly on the Multidimensional Poverty Index, Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south fare differently. Only 0.55 percent of people in Kerala are in poverty. Kerala has the lowest index in India. Similarly, there are only 2.2 percent people in Tamil Nadu out of which 1.41 per cent poop people are in urban areas and 2.9 per cent in rural areas.
Moreover, in the 12 categories mentioned earlier, data related to education should be analyzed and plans are to be made accordingly for Tamil Nadu. According to the 2015-16 data, the percentage of people aged 10 or above in a family who have not completed at least six years of schooling was 19.62 percent. Similarly, 3.97 percent of children were not attending school up to the age at which he/she would complete class 8. But, according to the data of 2019-21, that percentage has increased to 25.76 and 8.20 respectively.
It should be noted that this period includes the Corona pandemic times as well. During the Corona era, many poor school students could not continue their schooling due to poverty and the number of dropouts increased exponentially.
Various measures are being taken by the Government of Tamil Nadu to correct this. The reports in forthcoming years reveal the details on how many students were brought back to school through such activities. It is only on the basis of the data released in subsequent years that the changes that have occurred can be known.
Beyond food, a nutritious diet is essential for proper growth. Accordingly, the data on the availability of adequate nutrition for children aged zero to 59 months, women aged 15 to 49 years, and men aged 15 to 54 years are listed state-wise.
Bihar (42.20%) and Jharkhand (40.32%) are lagging behind on the overall Multidimensional Poverty Index list, while also lagging behind on the Malnutrition list. The state of Gujarat is at the third position with 38.09 percent of people being malnourished.
In Tamil Nadu 19.17 percent are malnourished. It is noteworthy that this has decreased by 5.6 percent compared to the last report (24.77%).
Overall, Multidimensional Poverty Index is less in Tamil Nadu when compared to other states. At the same time it is important to pay attention to the matter of education in Tamil Nadu.
This article is originally published in Tamil by Youturn.