India has managed to bring down ‘extreme poverty’ below 3 per cent of its population, latest data on the World Poverty Clock showed. This could mean achieving significant milestone in the direction of first of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as prescribed by United Nations with a timeline of 2030.

“Extreme Poverty is now eliminated in India. The World Poverty Clock updates: shows India’s extreme poverty at less than 3 per cent. This is one of the most significant global developments of our lifetime,” Shamika Ravi, Member to Prime Minister Economic Advisory Council (EAC to PM), said in a post on micro blogging site X.

The latest number also validates a statement by NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer BVR Subramanian when he said that less than 5 per cent of Indians are now expected to be below the poverty line, and extreme destitution has almost gone away, citing the findings of the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES) for 2022-23.

The World Poverty Clock provides real-time poverty estimates through 2030 for nearly every country in the world. It monitors progress against Ending Extreme Poverty, which is the UN’s first SDG. The escape rate calculates the current rate of poverty reduction in the world. Funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, the Clock shows the number of people living in extreme poverty worldwide, disaggregated by age, gender and rural/urban location. Every second, some escape while others fall into poverty and the clocks count all of them.

The clock has taken $2.15 a day income to present the finding. Accordingly, nearly 3.44 crore people are living in extreme population in 2024 against 4.69 crore in 2022. As a share of total population, number of people living in extreme poverty has come down to 2.4 per cent from 3.3 per cent in 2022. This is second big indication on fight against poverty.

A recent discussion paper by NITI Aayog, titled ‘Multidimensional Poverty in India since the year 2005-06,’ said that multidimensional poverty has declined sharply from 29.17 per cent in 2013-14 to 11.28 per cent in 2022-23, resulting in 24.82 crore individuals escaping multidimensional poverty during the 9-year period. The paper focused on the prevalence of multidimensional poverty in India from 2005-06 to 2022-23, utilising both NFHS (National Family Health Surveys) data and projection methods for years when NFHS data was unavailable.

According to the World Bank, to aggregate and compare poverty rates across countries, poverty thresholds that reflect the same real standard of living in each country are used. The $2.15 a day poverty line, which reflects the value of national poverty lines in some of the poorest countries, is often referred to as the extreme poverty line. For added perspective, the World Bank also tracks poverty at $3.65 a day, the typical line for lower-middle-income countries, and $6.85 a day, typical for upper-middle-income countries.

Poverty measured at the international poverty line of $2.15 a day is used to track progress toward meeting the World Bank target of reducing the share of people living in extreme poverty to less than 3 per cent by 2030. SDG target 1.1 is even more ambitious — by 2030, it wants all countries, regions, and groups within countries to achieve zero poverty at the same international poverty line.