ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Multidimensional Poverty as an Instrument of Programmatic Intervention

Conceptual and operational issues for constructing multidimensional poverty indices in India are discussed and the possibilities of its application for strategic interventions are examined in this article. It argues that questions concerning the selection of indicators, data sources, weightages, threshold limits, etc, have to be addressed through a consultative process, keeping it above the short-term politics of the regime.

Good news has come, belatedly though, from the NITI Aayog that the percentage of the multidimensionally poor in India has gone down rapidly from 25% to 15%, resulting in 135 million people exiting the poverty trap from 2015–16 to 2019–21. Belated, because the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI)–United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had indicated a similar decline in poverty for India in its Global Multidimensional Poverty Index report, released in October 2022, based on the same data set with similar indicators and methodology (OPHI–UNDP 2022). It had noted that about 139 million people got out of poverty and the rate of reduction in poverty during the period was higher than that during the preceding decade.

The multidimensional poverty index (MPI)—computed by multiplying the headcount ratio of the poor with the intensity of deprivation of the poor—has come down from 0.117 to 0.066 during the five-year period as per the national report, the corresponding figures in the OPHI–UNDP report being 0.122 and 0.069. Given the controversy on the poverty figures computed based on the consumption expenditure and non-availability of this data from the National Sample Survey (NSS) for any recent year, the sharp reduction in MPI is likely to be a significant evidence of the performance of the present government.

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Updated On : 23rd Aug, 2023
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