Why Bihar which pulled 7% out of poverty still has a big task at hand

A recent Niti Aayog report said at least 25 crore Indians were pulled out of multidimensional poverty in the last 9 years. Here's a look at why Bihar, despite a good performance, still tops the poverty chart and has a big task at hand.
Why Bihar which pulled 7% out of poverty still has a big task at hand
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

India's multidimensional poverty has come down from 29.17% in 2013-14 to 11.28% in 2022-23. This means about 24.82 crore people moved out of multidimensional poverty in the country, according to a NITI Aayog report. The report also points out how Bihar, which was the best in poverty reduction, has a big task at hand.

The reduction in multidimensional poverty decreased by 17.89 percentage points between 2013-14 and 2022-23, according to the Niti Aayog report released on Monday (January 15).

The measure of multidimensional poverty assesses deficiencies in three key areas: health, education and standard of living. The index used 12 parameters.

Among the states, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh saw the largest decline in the number of poor in terms of percentage of their population. In fact, multidimensional poverty was reduced by 7% in Bihar, the most in any state.

Which is the state that has the highest number of poor people? And which are the bottom five states with the most number of multidimensional poor?

States like Bihar, Jharkhand and Meghalaya had the highest share of the multidimensionally poor population in 2019-2021, the latest data that has been shared. In the projection for 2022-23 shared by the Niti Aayog study, Bihar, Meghalaya and Jharkhand remain the states with the highest number of poor people.

The same report said, Bihar pulled out around 7% of its population from multidimensional poverty between 2019-21 and 2022-23. The 7% drop is a big one, but the extrapolated data shows that the state will have around 26.59% of its population multidimensionally poor in 2022-23.

Human Development Index (HDI) data calculated by Global Data Lab, using the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) method said Bihar was at the table bottom among Indian states in 2021.

Given Bihar's performance in various socio-economic parameters, it has a big task at hand.


"Very encouraging, reflecting our commitment towards furthering inclusive growth and focussing on transformative changes to our economy. We will continue to work towards all-round development and to ensure a prosperous future for every Indian," Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on X reacting to the discussion paper released on Monday (January 15).

The Niti Aayog discussion paper draws the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) data from National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) 4 (2015-16) and 5 (2019-21), which were conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

To count the poverty levels, the index used 12 parametres, like, access to housing, electricity, bank account, cooking fuel, etc, based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

It is noteworthy that the 2022-23 MPI data is a projected extrapolation, based on the first-hand data of NFHS 4 of 2015-16 and NFHS 5 of 2019-21.


The report says Bihar with 33.76% had the highest number of people deprived in 2019-21. It was followed by its cousin, Jharkhand, where 28.81% of the state's population were in the bottom bracket.

Following the two, Meghalaya with 27.79%, Uttar Pradesh with 22.93% and Madhya Pradesh with just over 20% are the next on the list.


A look at this data reveals that Bihar is the state with the highest number of poor with 26.59% of its population in 2022-23 in that bracket. However, the data suggests that Bihar managed to bring down the number from 33.76% in 2019-21 to 26.59% in 2022-23.

That's an improvement of seven percentage points.

Following Bihar, Meghalaya would move to second place in 2022-23, which was in third during 2019-2021, according to the report. The North Eastern state is projected to slash its multidimensional poor people by just 2%.

This figure might be surprising, but given Meghalaya's small population of an estimated 38 lakh in 2023, the state would pull more than 76,200 people out of multidimensional poverty.

Jharkhand, with the second-largest share of multidimensional poor in 2019-21, will see an improvement of around 5-6% for 2022-23.

Big states, namely, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Assam are to see improvements by approximately 5% each in 2022-23, compared to the last data from 2019-21.

"The government has a goal to bring down multidimensional poverty to below 1% and all efforts are being made in that direction," Niti Aayog CEO BVR Subrahmanyam said.

The paper also said that India is likely to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) much ahead of the target year of 2030. While India is set to reach its target, Bihar needs to ramp up its efforts through welfare schemes to aid India's forward march to growth and development.

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Why Bihar which pulled 7% out of poverty still has a big task at hand

Like PM Modi said, the numbers are encouraging and a boost for those trying to better the lives of Indians, Bihar must act fast.

Source: India Today

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