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SOME GOOD NEWS AT LAST!

THE NUMBER of poor in Uttar Pradesh has declined from 59.3 million to 48.8 million over a period of 10 years. There has also been a decline in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). On the other hand the State has witnessed an increase in the literacy rate.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 01:25 IST

Poverty, infant mortality down, literacy rate up: Report

THE NUMBER of poor in Uttar Pradesh has declined from 59.3 million to 48.8 million over a period of 10 years. There has also been a decline in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). On the other hand the State has witnessed an increase in the literacy rate.

Yet on an average, only 10 per cent of the population was visiting a government health facility with the rest preferring to go to quacks and other traditional healers in the State.

A joint report on the Second Poverty and Social Monitoring Survey (PSMS-II) conducted by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, the Planning Department and the World Bank released today made these revelations. Over all, the report paints a rosy picture indicating an improvement in conditions vis-à-vis the previous survey.

Threadbare discussions on various issues were held with experts analysing the data soon after the report was released. Principal secretary (Planning) V Venkatachalam, WB’s lead economist and UP State coordinator (South Asia Poverty Reduction and Economic Management) VJ Ravi Shankar, senior WB economist Elena Glinskaya, principal secretary (Food and Civil Supplies) Sudhir Kumar and IG (Stamps and Registration) Sunil Kumar and director Giri Institute AK Singh took part.

As per the report, the poverty rate in rural areas of UP fell from 42.3 per cent to 28.5 per cent while in urban areas, the same declined slightly from 35.1 to 32.3 per cent.

Significantly, the pattern of growth in the period from 1993-94 to 2003-2004 shows the pattern of growth was pro-poor thereby indicating that per capita expenditure of one-tenth of population increased faster (by 109 per cent in normal terms) than the rich whose expenditure increased only by 62 per cent.

However, the report is silent on wherefrom money is coming for the poor to go in for heavy expenditure? But the experts have a different tale to tell as many of them say that easy loans and borrowing may be behind the increase in extravagant expenditure of the poor.

As regard the trends in the education sector, literacy rate has gone up from 56 per cent in 2000 to 60 per cent in 2003.

The percentage of population over 18 who have ever attended school has increased from 46 per cent in 2000 to 51 per cent in 2003. On the other hand, even in 2003, 15 per cent children in the age group of six to 11 years never attended school. Enrollment rates at the primary level i.e. among children between 6 and 10 years stood at 78 per cent in 2003. This went up sharply from 67 per cent in 2000. This increase has been witnessed in all regions for both boys and the girls and among all the income groups. Urban-rural enrollment gap has been eliminated in the six to 10 year age group while it narrowed down considerably in the age group of 11 to 15 years.

Interestingly, among the children who never enrolled in school, 60 per cent cited “cannot afford” as the reason for not going to school. Another 14 per cent said that “education was not useful”.

Enrollment in private schools increased from 31 per cent to 37 per cent for students between six to 10 years of age while it increased from 37 to 45 per cent for those in 11 to 13 years age group.

About 40 per cent (61 per cent in urban and 35 per cent in rural areas) of those who consulted any medical practitioner consulted a formal health provider and 10 per cent (10 per cent in rural areas and 14 per cent in urban areas) visited a government health facility. Rest sought consultations from private informal health providers like quacks, traditional healers etc.