How to truly measure poverty: NITI Aayog brings global benchmark to India

Business & Economics

Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog,

With an aim to measure actual poverty rather than just financial, government think tank NITI Aayog is working on a dashboard that will rank Indian states and Union Territories on their poverty level with the help of a global benchmark. NITI Aayog is in the last stage for preparation of Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) parameter dashboard and a State Reform Action Plan (SRAP). The Global MPI is a part of the government’s decision as it looks to monitor the performance of the country on 29 select global indices, NITI Aayog said in a statement. “The objective of the Global Indices to Drive Reforms and Growth (GIRG) exercise is to fulfil the need to measure and monitor India’s performance on various important social and economic parameters,” it said, adding that the same will also enable the utilisation of these indices as tools for self-improvement, and bring about reforms in policies, while improving last-mile implementation of government schemes.

Global MPI is an international measure which covers 107 developing countries and ranks them on multidimensional poverty. First developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and United Nations Development Programme for UNDP’s Human Development Reports, the measure takes into account deprivations of health facilities, education and living standards, which are various forms of poverty. The MPI also measures acute poverty and people experiencing multiple deprivations. This includes those who are undernourished and also those who do not have access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and clean fuel. The indicators are set in line with the minimum international agreed standards in basic functioning.

Among neighbouring countries, Sri Lanka (25th), Bhutan (68th), Nepal (65th), Bangladesh (58th), China (30th), Myanmar (69th) and Pakistan (73rd) are also ranked in the index.  Meanwhile, NITI Aayog, which is the nodal agency for leveraging the monitoring mechanism of the Global MPI to drive reforms, has set up a coordination committee. It comprises members from different ministries and departments including Ministry/ Department of Power, Telecommunication, MoSPI, Rural Development, Education, Health & Family Welfare, and Financial Services etc. It held its first meeting on 2nd September 2020. 

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