Home > Article > More Poor in 8 Indian States than in all sub-Saharan Africa: Oxford Study

More Poor in 8 Indian States than in all sub-Saharan Africa: Oxford Study


A study conducted by Oxford University researchers, compiling poverty profile in 104 countries for the prestigious UNDP Annual report, has revealed more poor people living in eight states of India compared to 26 countries of sub – Saharan Africa. According to the study more than 410 million people live in acute poverty in the Indian states, where the “intensity” of poverty is equal to if not worse than that in Africa.

The states include Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The study findings will be published in the 2010 UNDP Human Development Report which is due for publication in late October and are based on an innovatory “multidimensional poverty index” (MPI) method developed by specialists at Oxford.

The MPI replaces a simpler method of calculating poverty introduced over a decade ago and includes ten major variables evaluating access to schooling, electricity, nutrition, sanitation, safe water and cooking fuel etc to determine the deprivation levels in a given country. When the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh having a population of 70 million was compared to war ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo inhabited by 62 million people, the levels of poverty were found to be identical. Applying MPI, the survey conducted by researchers at Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) found that in Madhya Pradesh poverty index was high due to malnutrition where as in Congo lack of education infrastructure was the problem.

In India despite having a high rate of GDP growth of around 9% the poverty is staggering because wealth is getting accumulated in fewer states; dividing the society in the categories of haves and have-nots. This is a major reason for the rise of Naxalism in India, where the movement is based in those very states ranked poorest in the world by the UNDP sponsored study, say analysts.

Khalid Mehmood

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