A record 13.5 crore people moved out of poverty between 2015-16 and 2019-21 in India, according to the latest 'National Multidimensional Poverty Index: Progress Review 2023' report by the government think tank Niti Aayog. The report says that the country registered a significant decline of 9.89 percentage points in the number of India's multidimensionally poor from 24.85% in 2015-16 to 14.96% in 2019-21. 

This is the second edition of the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which represents the country's progress in reducing multi-dimensional poverty. The National MPI measures simultaneous deprivations across the three equally weighted dimensions of health, education, and standard of living that are represented by 12 SDG-aligned indicators. These include nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, maternal health, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets, and bank accounts. Marked improvement is witnessed across all 12 indicators.

Poverty predominantly impacts rural citizens. During the period under review, poverty in rural areas reduced from 32.59% to 19.28%. In the last five years, the urban areas saw a reduction in poverty from 8.65% to 5.27%. Uttar Pradesh registered the largest decline in the number of poor with 3.43 crore people escaping multidimensional poverty. Providing multidimensional poverty estimates for the 36 states and union territories and 707 administrative districts, the report states that the fastest reduction in the proportion of multidimensional poor was observed in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan.

According to the report, between 2015-16 and 2019-21, the MPI value has nearly halved from 0.117 to 0.066 and the intensity of poverty has reduced from 47% to 44%, thereby setting India on the path of achieving the SDG (sustainable development goal) target of reducing multidimensional poverty by at least half much ahead of the stipulated timeline of 2030. 

The report comes days after the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its report said that as many as 415 million people exited poverty in India in the last 15 years between 2005-2006 and 2019-21. Incidence also fell from 55.1% to 16.4%. "Deprivation in all indicators declined (in India). The poorest states and groups, including children and people in disadvantaged caste groups, had the fastest absolute progress," said the report.

Apart from this, millions of people also exited poverty in other countries such as China (69 million during 2010–2014), Bangladesh (19 million during 2015–2019), Indonesia (8 million during 2012–2017), Pakistan (7 million during 2012/2013–2017/2018) and Nigeria (5 million during 2018–2021).

Although low-income countries constitute only 10% of the population included in the MPI, these are where 35% of all poor people reside, according to the UNDP report. Children under 18 years old account for half of MPI-poor people (566 million). The poverty rate among children is 27.7%, while among adults it is 13.4%.

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