New Delhi, Nov 3: More than half of India’s population at 612 million is ‘multidimensionally poor’ – or deficit in health, education and living standards – making it the world’s largest such number of poor, according to the UN Human Development report 2011.
A comparison with the neighbour Pakistan shows 49 percent of its population is multidimensionally poor.
According to the report, released Wednesday, multidimensional poverty index (MPI) assesses acute poverty levels and examines factors such as health services, access to clean water and cooking fuels, basic household goods and home construction standards, which together offer a fuller portrait of poverty than income measurements alone.
The MPI measures deficits in health, education and living standards, combining both the number of deprived people and the intensity of their deprivations.
These deprivations are more acute among the multidimensionally poor, said the report.
Deprivations in sanitation among multidimensionally poor people in India range from 3.5 percent in Kerala to more than 70 percent in Bihar, stated the report.
According to it, in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, the two poorest regions, more than 90 percent of the multidimensionally poor lack access to modern cooking fuel.
More than 85 percent of poor people in both regions lack access to improved sanitation.
The report said the world’s most disadvantaged people carry a ‘double burden’ as they are more vulnerable to environmental degradation, they must also cope with immediate environmental threats from indoor air pollution, dirty water and unimproved sanitation.