The UNDP report on MPI- Explained
- GS Mains Paper- 1, 3
Why in news?
- UNDP has recently released an update of Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).
What is MPI?
- MPI is brought out by UNDP and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.
- It is made up of several factors that constitute poor people’s experience of deprivation such as,
- Poor health,
- Lack of education,
- Inadequate living standard,
- Lack of income,
- Poor quality of work and
- Threat from violence.
- The MPI goes beyond income to look at health, education and living standards.
- It not only captures living conditions better, but also addresses the difficulties involved in estimating income poverty.
What does the report say?
- According to it, India has pulled 271 million people out of poverty between 2005-06 and 2015-16 and halved its poverty rate from 55 % to 28 %.
- This is quite impressive and the period also happens to be the best phase of economic growth that the country experienced since Independence.
- The real MPCE (monthly per capita consumption expenditure) increased by much more in the second period (2004-05 to 2011-12) as compared to the first (1993-94 to 2004-05).
What are the concerns highlighted by the report?
- The decade from 2005-06 has seen growth and welfare go hand in hand.
- While government interventions were significant, these have also been half-hearted, given the abysmal shares of public spending in health and education as a share of GDP.
- The sobering consequence of this is that about 364 million individuals in India were living in multi-dimensional poverty in 2016-17.
- It further notes that about 19 per cent of the population is vulnerable to multi-dimensional poverty and about 9 per cent to severe MDP.
- They would suffer in the event of setbacks such as wars and conflicts, sickness, droughts and floods, and unemployment.
What are the existing issues in measuring poverty?
- India absurdly follows low income poverty lines fixed by the Suresh Tendulkar committee (which submitted its report in 2009).
- Recognising the limitations of income-based poverty lines, a number of targeted schemes in India are in the nature of BPL-plus programmes.
- An income-plus approach to identifying the deprived is also built into the Socio Economic and Caste Census.
What should be done?
- Clearly, the welfare commitment of the Centre and States should not be allowed to flag.
- Along with financial outlays, a focus on outcomes, given the advantages of digitisation, must be stepped up.
- Poverty reduction also needs a focus on improving household incomes.
- That would entail teaching individuals the right skills not just the technical skills that will help them find employment, but also the soft skills required in a modern workplace.