Out of 70 million people pushed into poverty due to Covid globally, 56 million are Indian: World Bank

The World Bank said in a report on Wednesday that a total of 70 million people were pushed into poverty in the 2020 corona pandemic year all over the world. Out of which 56 million belong to India. Given that India contributes significantly to global poverty levels due to the sheer size of its population, the World Bank flagged that the lack of official data on poverty from India had become a hindrance in drawing up global estimates. Since 2011, the Indian government has stopped publishing data on poverty.

It has given this report citing data from a household survey prepared by the think tank Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). The special thing in this is that it has relied on the data of CMIE and has given reasons why it has prepared the report by quoting the data of a think tank.

The World Bank has said that data from the CMIE survey was used to fill that gap in global and regional poverty estimates as India has not published official figures since 2011.

This World Bank report is also an eye-opener to the government as the government is repeatedly claiming to reduce poverty. The question is that when the government has not released the poverty statistics, then on what basis does the government claim to reduce poverty? However, a question has also been arising from this that if the government has been claiming to provide government food grains to about 80 crore people, then the question of whether poverty would have increased or decreased.

However, the findings of the Consumer Pyramid Household Survey conducted by the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy are yet to be finalized, but they have been used by the World Bank in its report. The World Bank in its report titled ‘Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2022’ has released estimates of global poverty projections.

The World Bank has noted that its estimate on poverty in India was much higher than in a paper presented to the International Monetary Fund. That paper claimed that in 2020, 23 million Indians reached poverty.

That paper with IMF has been prepared by economists Surjit Bhalla, Karan Bhasin and Arvind Virmani. Bhalla, who resigned as a member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister in 2018, is currently India’s executive director at the IMF.

Meanwhile, the World Bank report said the final number could be higher or lower, but all indications suggest that the global shock to poverty reduction as a result of the coronavirus pandemic was ‘historically large’.

The report said the pandemic increased the rate of global extreme poverty to an estimated 9.3% in 2020, up from 8.4% in 2019.

The report also noted that poverty in India has declined since 2011, especially in rural areas. An earlier estimate by the World Bank suggested that in 2017 10.4% of India’s population would be below the poverty line of Rs 155. However, the latest estimates showed that in 2017 13.6% people were below the poverty line. According to a Scroll.in report, the World Bank report states that 10% of India’s population was living below the poverty line of Rs 175.50 in 2019-2020. In rural areas, 12% of the population was living below the poverty line, while 6% of the urban people were within the poverty line.

The World Bank has said that the situation of the poor population was worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic as the government found it difficult to reach those in need. Nonetheless, the bank claimed that the government reached out to 85% of rural households and 69% to urban areas with its plans during the pandemic.

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