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Poverty in India

Over the last decade, India grew rapidly and the percentage of poor people declined.

The average annual growth rate between 1990 and 2003 was 5.9% , according to World Development Indicators 2005.

While overall poverty has declined, the extent of poverty reduction is debated.

Estimates in the reduction of poverty differ between the National Sample Survey Organization's rounds of 1993-1994 and 1999-2000, depending on the model used to adjust for comparability. These estimates range between 4.2 and 10.3 percentage points for rural areas and between 5.8 and 8.8 percentage points for urban areas.

A new NSSO round is being processed and will be available soon. This new round will help determine which of the models is more accurate, and is expected to improve the estimates from the 55th round (the round conducted in 1999-2000).

Disparity in economic and social development across the regions and among different segments of the society is widening. For example, between 1994-95 and 2001-02, Bihar's growth rate averaged 3.8% or less than two-thirds the national growth rate of 6.1% per year.

The World Bank has mainly provided state governments with technical assistance for monitoring poverty and evaluating poverty programs. The Bank also plans to provide technical assistance to the federal government to resolve the debate over poverty estimates and strengthen its statistical systems.

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Last Updated: 6/7/06

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