Sharp drop in Odisha’s multidimensional poverty figure
The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2023 estimation shows that at least 62.62 lakh people exited multidimensional poverty in the state during the assessment period.
The latest NITI Aayog report has underscored the significant strides made by Odisha to tackle poverty. Odisha is one of the five states in the country that logged the sharpest drop in multidimensional poverty in the last five years. A 13.65 percentage point decline in the proportion of multidimensional poor, from 29.34% (2015–16) to 15.68% (2019–21), shows the progress of the eastern state in overall poverty reduction and in terms of broader aspects like health, education and standard of living. The achievement in poverty reduction in rural pockets has been consistent with the state average. The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2023 estimation shows that at least 62.62 lakh people exited multidimensional poverty in the state during the assessment period.
Odisha aside, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan largely contributed to India’s improvement in poverty reduction. In line with the sustainable development goal targets of the country, non-monetary indicators are also evaluated when it comes to poverty reduction. Odisha has improved substantially in parameters like sanitation, electricity, and child and adolescent mortality. Indicators like nutrition, maternal health, housing and drinking water, where there has been middling progress, need sustained attention.
The improvements notwithstanding, the MPI also focuses on the tribal and conventionally backward districts of the state where multidimensional poverty remains relatively high. In Malkangiri, for example, 45% of the people are in the multidimensional poverty bracket, though the decline rate is on par with the state average. Nabarangpur, Mayurbhanj, Rayagada and Koraput continue to see over 30% of their populations in the poverty bracket. Nabarangpur, one of the most socioeconomically backward districts, clocked a 25.87% decline during the assessment period, but the proportion of poor is still around 33.45%. In many of the tribal-dominated districts, the MPI 2023 finds the intensity of poverty to be on the higher side, pointing to the deprivation experienced by the poor.
The latest MPI paints a clear picture of the extent of achievement vis-à-vis the human development indices. In the last decade, the Odisha government has increasingly invested in the socio-economic infrastructure, security and livelihood in the regions that once carried the baggage of historical backwardness that fuelled Left Wing extremism, therefore slowing down the pace of development. The state government must continue with the same priority going forward.