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Kerala - Kottayam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Report places State on a better pedestal

George Jacob

KOTTAYAM: The ongoing discussions on poverty in Kerala may encounter another complexity with the report of the study by researchers from Oxford for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for its forthcoming Human Development Report placing it at the top of the list of Indian States, with the proportion of the poor at 15.9 per cent.

The report has evinced a lot of interest among social scientists as the study uses a more innovative ‘Multidimensional Poverty Index' (MPI) which gives a more clear picture of incidence of poverty than the traditional and more commonly used poverty measures.

Incidentally, the proportion of the poor in Kerala, under the new study, comes closer to the proportion of the poor as per the National Poverty Line measure which is 12.72. The MPI uses a basket of indicators broadly divided into Health, Education and Living Standard and takes into account components including schooling, child enrolment, child mortality, nutrition, access to electricity, sanitation, drinking water type, cooking fuel etc.

The MPI is expected to reflect not only the incidence of poverty, i.e., the proportion of the population that is multi-dimensionally poor, but also the intensity of their deprivation. A person is identified if he or she is deprived in at least 30 per cent of the weighted indicators.

As per the report, 15.9 per cent of the population is multi-dimensionally poor in Kerala and the average intensity of poverty is 40.9 per cent. The MPI for the State is 0.065 with the total number of the poor being 5.6 million. These figures contrast widely with the statistics for the country as a whole where 55.4 per cent of the population is multi-dimensionally poor.

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