Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

MPI And Bharat’s Multidimensional Approach to Eradicating Poverty

For decades, Bharat has grappled with the challenge of poverty. Millions dreamt of a life free from deprivation, but the path seemed long and arduous. In the latest landmark achievement, the nation has taken a significant step towards eradicating extreme poverty. A recent report by NITI Ayog, titled “Multidimensional Poverty in India since 2005-06,” unveils a heartening story. Between 2015-16 and 2019-21, the national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) value for Bharat nearly halved!  This isn’t just a statistic – it represents millions of families stepping out of the shadows and into a brighter future.

This remarkable progress is measured by the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), a comprehensive tool that goes beyond just income to capture the various ways poverty can affect people’s lives. It is a holistic measure offering a comprehensive assessment of deprivation. It considers various dimensions of poverty, including health, education, and living standards, to provide a more nuanced understanding of poverty’s extent and nature. This index was initiated as part of efforts to track progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG target 1.2, which aims to reduce poverty in all its dimensions.

Bharat’s journey with the MPI began in 2021 when NITI Ayog released the first-ever MPI for the country, based on data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS). The methodology used to calculate MPI involves identifying households experiencing multiple deprivations across 12 indicators and considering them as poor if they suffer deprivations in at least one-third of these indicators. This approach allows for a more nuanced understanding of poverty, capturing the complexities and nuances of deprivation.

The decline in poverty headcount ratio from 29.17% in 2013-14 to 11.28% in 2022-23 highlights India’s remarkable progress in reducing poverty. This reduction of 17.89 percentage points underscores the effectiveness of the government’s poverty alleviation efforts and its commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable. Moreover, all 12 MPI indicators show significant signs of improvement, reflecting comprehensive efforts to address poverty across various dimensions. The credit for this Incredible progress goes in large part to the unwavering commitment of the Government of Bharat. Since 2014, a multitude of impactful initiatives have been Implemented, reaching the core of these multidimensional issues.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the government embarked on a mission to uplift millions from the clutches of poverty. This wasn’t about a quick fix, but a multi-pronged approach that addressed every facet of a poor family’s life. The results have been nothing short of phenomenal. Between 2013-14 and 2022-23, a staggering 24.82 crore Bhartiyas escaped multidimensional poverty! This translates to millions of families who can now afford nutritious meals, educate their children, and live with dignity. This wasn’t just a national success story, but a regional triumph as well. States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh, traditionally burdened with high poverty, witnessed some of the steepest declines. This indicates that even the most disadvantaged regions are being brought into the fold of progress.

These impressive statistics are a direct result of the government’s dedication to tackling poverty at its roots. Here are some key initiatives that have played a pivotal role:

  • Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM): This mission transformed rural Bharat by constructing over 90 million toilets, putting an end to open defecation and its associated health risks. The mission has not only improved public health but also restored dignity, particularly for women and girls.
  • Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM): By providing clean drinking water through individual taps, JJM is ensuring good health and hygiene for millions of families.
  • Poshan Abhiyan: This flagship program tackles malnutrition by focusing on the nutritional needs of mothers and children, laying the foundation for a healthy future generation.
  • Samagra Shiksha: By revamping the education system, Samagra Shiksha equips children with the knowledge and skills they need to break the cycle of poverty. The scheme covers 1.16 million schools, over 156 million students and 5.7 million teachers of Govt. and Aided schools (from pre-primary to senior secondary level) by involving all stakeholders of the school ecosystem i.e. teachers, teacher educators, students, parents, community, school management committees, SCERTs, DIETs, BITEs, Block resource Persons, Cluster resource persons, volunteers for providing quality, inclusive and equitable education.
  • Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya): Bringing electricity to every household not only improves living conditions but also opens doors to new opportunities. This scheme has helped in environmental upgradation by substitution of kerosene for lighting purposes, improvement of education services by connecting students through technology like television, smartphones etc., and better health services.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY): By providing clean and safe LPG connections to millions of families, PMUY is protecting women’s health and the environment. Till March 2024, over 10 crore LPG gas connection have been provided. The new connections provided will not only replace hazardous cooking fuels with clean LPG, but by safeguarding the health of women, it helps in protecting the environment by less carbon emissions.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY): Financial inclusion through PMJDY empowers families by giving them access to banking services. Over 50 crores accounts have been opened under this scheme and 56% of the beneficiaries are women and 67% of the accounts are opened in rural and semi urban areas.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY): This scheme provides affordable housing solutions, giving families the security and dignity of a pucca roof over their heads. Over 3 crore houses have been completed, which is an achievement in itself.

These are just a few examples of the many initiatives that are transforming lives across Bharat.  NITI Ayog, the government’s premier think tank, is playing a crucial role by continuously monitoring progress and collaborating with states to ensure effective implementation of these programs. This progress isn’t just about numbers; it’s about human lives. It’s about children going to school with full bellies, families living in safe and clean homes, and women breathing easier with clean fuel. It’s about hope and opportunity replacing despair and limitation.

The journey isn’t over, but with the unwavering dedication of the government and the collective spirit of the nation, Bharat is well on its way to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of reducing poverty in all its forms by 2030, and perhaps even surpassing this target. This progress report serves as a roadmap for the future. By pinpointing areas that require further action, it allows states and union territories to tailor their approaches and ensure no one is left behind. Schemes like State Support Mission and the MPI Progress Dashboard are valuable tools that will guide Bharat on its path to becoming a truly inclusive and prosperous nation – a Viksit Bharat by 2047.