According to a study by Brookings Institute based on a projection by the World Poverty Clock, India is no longer home to the most number of people living under extreme poverty. That dubious distinction has been grabbed by Nigeria and if current trends hold, India could drop to number 3 with 44 Indians pulling themselves out of poverty every minute.
The study, published in the ‘Future Development’ blog of Brookings, says, “At the end of May 2018, our trajectories suggest that Nigeria had about 87 million people in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73 million. What is more, extreme poverty in Nigeria is growing by six people every minute, while poverty in India continues to fall.”
According to N.R. Bhanumurthy, a professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, the findings of the study supports the growth story of the country augmented by the economic reforms of 1991 implemented by PV Narsimha Rao. “Basically it supports the growth story and the 1991 economic reforms that have helped reduce poverty,” he told TOI. “Going ahead, the challenge is to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, which will help realise the study’s findings that India would be able to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030,” he added. Bhanumurthy was also optimistic that India will be able to completely eradicate poverty by 2030.
The prospects for African countries does not look very bright. The researchers note that 90% of the world’s poor could be living on the continent by 2030. Currently, they account for two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor. They were also worried that the target of ending extreme poverty by 2030 could not be achieved if current trends persist. “The task of ending extreme poverty by 2030 is becoming inexorably harder because we are running out of time. We should celebrate our achievements, but increasingly sound the alarm that not enough is being done, especially in Africa,” they said.
The study defined extreme poverty as those living on less than $1.9 a day. It also estimated that there will be only 3% of Indians living in poverty by 2030 and extreme poverty could be eliminated altogether by then.