The Planning Commission has indicated that the rate of poverty reduction may reach two percentage point in 2011-12.

The 11th Plan (April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2012) set a target of two percentage point annual reduction in the poverty estimate.

Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said, “The 2011-12 data are now available. This has been processed to a certain level. We don't have any official estimates with the Planning commission…but one or two people who work on this have come to the conclusion that when the data will be finally available, the rate of reduction in poverty will be two percentage points.”

Delivering his keynote address in 4th OECD World Forum on Tuesday, he said that when “we got data for 2009-10, we found that rate of reduction in poverty has doubled. It was now going down by 1.5 per cent every year. But that was not the target (two per cent). The interesting point is that 2009-10 was a drought year and in a drought year poverty goes down. That is why the NSSO survey was repeated for 2011-12,” he clarified.

On March 20, Ahluwalia had said that the Commission would have the actual numbers for 2011-12 in 2013 and the rate of reduction then would be better. According to the figures, poverty declined to 29.8 per cent in 2009-10 from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05.

The Plan panel has estimated the total number of poor in the country at 34.47 crore in 2009-10, against 40.72 crore in 2004-05. Poverty declined at a faster pace in rural India between 2004-05 and 2009-10.

IMF projection

Later, while talking to reporters, Ahluwalia said India’s economic growth forecast of 4.9 per cent for 2012 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was a bit of a statistical problem. He said he did not believe that 4.9 per cent was reasonable for 2012, as for the first half of the year, the Indian economy grew by 5.5 per cent.

“This (4.9 per cent GDP growth projection) would mean that the economy will further decelerate. I doubt it will,” he said. “I don’t think that IMF was aware of the fact that there was this little difference. They just took the GDP at market prices. There is a big difference between GDP at market price and GDP at factor cost,” he added.

Shishir.Sinha@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 16, 2012)
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