Fewer Indians were living in poverty in 2004-05 than in 1999-2000, with official data showing poverty declined by 4.3 per cent during the period but there were still 238.5 million people living in less than desirable conditions.
Poverty in India has declined to 21.8 per cent in 2004-05 from 26.1 per cent in 1999-2000, a report of the National Sample Survey (NSS) released by the Planning Commission said on Wednesday.
The decline in poverty was comparatively much steep in rural areas where the percentage of people living below poverty line fell to 21.8 per cent (2004-05) from 27.1 per cent (1999-00).
In urban areas, percentage of people living below poverty line fell to 21.7 per cent (2004-05) from 23.6 per cent (1999-00), according to the NSS estimates based on the Mixed Recall Period-consumption distribution data.
The number of people living below poverty was estimated at 238.5 million -- 170.3 million in rural areas and 68.2 million in urban areas -- out of the over one billion population.
The level of poverty, based on the Uniform Recall Period-consumption distribution data, declined to 27.5 per cent in 2004-05 from 36.0 per cent in 1993-94.
The level of poverty under the URP method in rural areas fell to 28.3 per cent in 2004-05 from 37.3 per cent in 1993-94 and in urban areas to 25.7 per cent from 32.4 per cent during the corresponding period.
Under URP methodology, data is collected using 30-day recall period for all items of consumption, while under MRP, consumption expenditure data is collected using 365-day recall period for five infrequently purchased items (clothing, footwear, durable goods, education and institutional medical expenses) and 30-day recall period for the remaining items.
Based on the MRP consumption data, Orissa was the poorest state with 39.9 per cent of people living below poverty line followed by Jharkhand (34.8 per cent) and Bihar (32.5 per cent).
In absolute terms, the number of people living below poverty line was 45.8 million in Uttar Pradesh followed by Bihar (29 million) and Maharashtra (26 million).
Poverty levels were low in Chandigarh (3.8 per cent people living below poverty line), Jammu and Kashmir (4.2 per cent) and Punjab (5.2 per cent).
In Delhi, 1.6 million people were living below poverty line accounting for 10.2 per cent of the national capital's population.
Among the other major states, percentage of people living below poverty line was 15 per cent in Assam, 12.5 per cent in Gujarat, 9.9 per cent in Haryana, 17.4 per cent in Karnataka, 11.4 per cent in Kerala, 32.4 per cent in Madhya Pradesh, 17.5 per cent in Rajasthan, 17.8 per cent in Tamil Nadu and 20.6 per cent in West Bengal.
Based on the URP consumption data, 301.7 million people were living below poverty line -- 229 million in rural areas and 80.8 million in urban areas.