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Even Rangarajan couldn't bring India's poor to BRICS standard

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Jul 08, 2014 02:33 IST

India's national poverty line continues to be the lowest among the BRICS countries, even after the upward revision recommended by the panel headed by former RBI governor C Rangarajan – Rs 32 per capita per day in rural areas (Rs 11,660 a year) and Rs 47 per capita per day (Rs 16,884 a year) for urban areas.

In dollar terms, it works out to $194 per capita annually for rural areas and $281 for urban areas.

Compared to this, Brazil's national poverty line is set at $442.8, China's $361, Russia's $2,580 and South Africa's $720 a year.

India has another dubious distinction – one of the highest poverty ratios among developing countries. While the Rangarajan committee estimates India's poverty ratio at 29.6% for 2011-12, the same for Brazil is 9% and for Russia 10.7%, according to data on country-specific official estimates available with the World Bank.

A better picture on comparison emerges on using the World Bank's definition of extreme poverty, which terms people living on less than $1.25 a day as poor. India has 32.7% population living in extreme poverty. The comparative figures for other BRICS countries are: China 11.8% (2009), South Africa 13.8% (2009) and Brazil 6.1% (2009). No such data are available for Russia.

India's record is not too good even in its own backyard. Nepal and Sri Lanka – with respective poverty ratios of 25.2% and 6% -- have done better than India in alleviating poverty. India does a tad better than Bangladesh, where 31.5% are estimated to be living below the official poverty line.

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