Poverty Eradication – Definition, Debates, etc.

India sees significant reduction in Multidimensional Poverty


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: MPI

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

What is MPI?

  • The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of acute multidimensional poverty covering over 100 developing countries.
  • It complements traditional monetary poverty measures by capturing the acute deprivations in health, education, and living standards that a person faces simultaneously.
  • The global MPI was developed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for inclusion in UNDP’s flagship Human Development Report in 2010.
  • It has been published annually by OPHI and in the HDRs ever since.

Components of MPI

poverty, mpi

Rapid Progress and Halving MPI Values

  • Achieving rapid progress: The report showcases that 25 countries, including India, successfully halved their global MPI values within 15 years, indicating that substantial progress is attainable.
  • Countries with notable progress: Besides India, other countries that achieved this feat include Cambodia, China, Congo, Honduras, Indonesia, Morocco, Serbia, and Vietnam.
  • Significance of halving MPI values: Halving the MPI values demonstrates a substantial reduction in multidimensional poverty, reflecting improvements across multiple indicators of well-being.

Poverty Reduction: Key Stats

  • Decline in multidimensional poverty: In India, the number of people in multidimensional poverty decreased from approximately 645 million in 2005-06 to about 370 million in 2015-16 and further to 230 million in 2019-21.
  • Improvements across indicators: Deprivation in various indicators, such as nutrition, child mortality, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, and housing, witnessed significant declines in India.
  • Fastest progress among the poorest: The report highlights that the poorest states and disadvantaged groups, including children and individuals from marginalized castes, experienced the fastest progress in reducing poverty.

Factors Contributing to Multidimensional Poverty

  • Multiple disadvantages: Poverty encompasses various factors such as poor health, lack of basic amenities, limited livelihood options, limited education, disempowerment, and vulnerability to climate change.
  • Holistic approach: Focusing solely on income as an indicator of poverty is insufficient. Multidimensional poverty measures offer a more comprehensive understanding of poverty by considering a range of disadvantages individuals face.
  • Targeting and priority setting: Multidimensional poverty measures provide valuable insights into different areas and sub-groups affected by poverty, aiding in the identification of national priorities and targeted interventions.

Government Interventions for Poverty Alleviation

  • Food Security: The National Food Security Act of 2013 aims to provide subsidized food grains to two-thirds of India’s population.
  • Employment and Skilling: Initiatives such as the National Rural Livelihood Mission and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act provide employment opportunities and regular income for the rural poor.
  • Income Support: Schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi aim to provide direct benefit transfers and minimum income support to the poor and farmers.

Challenges Ahead

  • Pauperization and migrant workers: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated poverty, leading to increased pauperization of migrant workers.
  • Regional disparities: Rural areas continue to face a higher incidence of extreme poverty compared to urban areas.
  • Jobless growth: Despite economic development, a significant proportion of the population still suffers from multidimensional deprivation.
  • Resource limitations: Adequate allocation of resources for anti-poverty programs remains a challenge, and the availability of funds often dictates target curtailment.
  • Implementation bottlenecks: Proper implementation and targeting of poverty alleviation schemes have been persistent issues in India, with overlapping programs leading to inefficiencies.


  • India’s progress in reducing multidimensional poverty is commendable, with substantial improvements across indicators.
  • However, the challenges of pauperization, regional disparities, job creation, resource allocation, and implementation bottlenecks must be addressed to achieve sustained poverty reduction and inclusive development.

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