The number of poor in the country declined to 27 crore (270 million) in 2011-12, from 40.74 crore (407.4 million) in 2004-05, Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said on Wednesday.
"The latest data of large sample survey on household consumer expenditure has been collected by NSSO in its 68th round conducted in 2011-12.
"As per the estimates of Planning Commission, the number of persons living below the poverty line in the country has declined from 40.74 crore in 2004-05 to 27 crore in 2011-12," Shukla said in a reply to Lok Sabha.
Planning Commission is the nodal agency for estimation of poverty at the national and state levels and the surveys are normally conducted on quinquennial basis.
As per the estimates, Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of poor people living below the poverty line at 5.98 crore in 2011-12, followed by Bihar at 3.58 crore, Madhya Pradesh 2.34 crore (23.4 million), Maharashtra 1.97 crore (19.7 million) and West Bengal 1.84 crore (18.4 million).
Shukla said Planning Commission estimates poverty line on Monthly Per Capita Consumption Expenditure and an expert group was constituted under late professor Suresh Tendulkar in 2005 to review the methodology for estimation of poverty.
The Tendulkar Committee recommended MPCE of Rs 447 for rural areas and Rs 579 for urban areas as the poverty line for 2004-05, which was accepted by Planning Commission.
For 2011-12, the MPCE was at Rs 816 in rural and Rs 1,000 in urban areas, he said.
"In conformity of its practice of reviewing the methodology for estimation of poverty, Planning Commission in June 2012, has constituted an expert group under the chairmanship of C Rangarajan to review the methodology for measurement of poverty," Shukla added.