SHILLONG, Nov 26: Meghalaya has been officially listed as the fifth-poorest state in India and the poorest in the Northeastern region, says NITI Aayog’s first Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report released on Friday.
Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have emerged as the poorest states in India, the report said.
As per the report, 51.91% population of Bihar is poor, followed by 42.16% in Jharkhand, 37.79% in Uttar Pradesh, 36.65% in Madhya Pradesh and 32.67% in Meghalaya.
Among the Northeastern states, Assam ranks as the sixth poorest with 32.67%, followed by Nagaland (10th with 25.23%), Arunachal Pradesh (11th with 24.27%), Manipur (14th with 17.89%), Tripura (16th with 16.65%) and Mizoram (22nd with 9.80%).
Kerala (0.71%), Goa (3.76%), Sikkim (3.82%), Tamil Nadu (4.89%) and Punjab (5.59%) have registered the lowest poverty across India.
Among union territories (UTs), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (27.36%) is the poorest while Puducherry (1.72%)is the richest.
Meghalaya with 37.05% also has the tenth-highest percentage of malnourished people among all the states. This list is headed by Bihar (51.88%) and followed by Jharkhand (47.99%), Madhya Pradesh (45.49%), Uttar Pradesh (44.47%) and Chhattisgarh (43.02%).
Except for Assam (39.67%) other states of the Northeast fare comparatively better than Meghalaya in the nutrition aspect.
On the child & adolescent mortality aspect, Meghalaya (3.10%) occupies the sixth-highest position among states in the country. This list is headed by Uttar Pradesh with a mortality rate of 4.97%.
Meghalaya also has the fifth-worst figure in the country with 31.70% of its women deprived of maternal healthcare facilities. Among the NE states, Nagaland (33.06%) has a figure worse than Meghalaya.
The state is second to Bihar when it comes to percentage of population deprived of years of schooling. Meghalaya’s figure stood at 19.71% against Bihar’s count of 26.27%. In terms of the percentage of population deprived of school attendance the state has the ninth-highest figure in the country with 5.40%.
Significantly, the report states that 69.20% of the population in Meghalaya is deprived of cooking fuel while 8.10% of the population does not have electricity connection as per the provisional estimates (2019-20) of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
Also, 23.60% of the population in Meghalaya does not have access to drinking water (2019-20 estimates) which is the second highest in the country.
As much as 55.90% of the population in the state does not have housing facilities. While 29.88% of the population (second highest in country) are deprived of assets, Meghalaya also has the fourth-highest percentage (9.10%) of population without a bank account.
The district-wise analysis of the report shows that Ri Bhoi is the poorest district in Meghalaya with 46.31% of its population regarded as multi-dimensionally poor. Interestingly, Ri Bhoi is followed by the mining-rich twin districts of Jaintia Hills (46.16%), East Garo Hills (41.78%), West Khasi Hills (39.78%), West Garo Hills (27.33%) and East Khasi Hills (23.68%). South Garo Hills is the richest district in the state with 11.27% of its population being described as multi-dimensionally poor. The data for North Garo Hills, South West Garo Hills and South West Khasi Hills was not available.
According to the report, India’s national MPI measure uses the globally accepted and robust methodology developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Importantly, as a measure of multidimensional poverty, it captures multiple and simultaneous deprivation faced by households, it added.
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar in his foreword said, “The development of the National Multidimensional Poverty Index of India is an important contribution towards instituting a public policy tool which monitors multidimensional poverty, informs evidence-based and focused interventions, thereby ensuring that no one is left behind.”
Kumar further said this baseline report of India’s first ever national MPI measure is based on the reference period of 2015-16 of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
The national MPI measure has been constructed by utilising 12 key components which cover areas such as health and nutrition, education and standard of living, he said.
“While this report is an indispensable first step in mainstreaming MPI, it is based on a dataset which is five years old. The success of numerous development interventions in the recent past have resulted in progress in key parameters on health, education, and standard of living,” it added. (With agency inputs)
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