A person earning below Rs 54 per day is a poor, according to third Nepal Living Standard Survey (NLSS III) that has revealed one quarter of the total population are poor meaning 25.2 per cent of Nepalis are poor as they earn less than Rs 54 per day.
The new national poverty line has been fixed at Rs 19,261 per person per year, according to the new poverty index that was released here today by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) that has estimated food poverty line has been estimated at Rs 11,929 and non-food at Rs 7,332, though it varies according to the region.
The national poverty line varies from Rs 15,998 in rural Tarai-Western to Rs 40,933 for Kathmandu.
Similarly, the poverty also varies from urban hills (nine per cent), Kathmandu (11 per cent) to mountains (42 per cent) followed by far western region (37 per cent), though the poverty is in downward trend.
In the last 15 years, poverty has witnessed a decline of 30 percentage point, according to the CBS that releases NLSS in every seven years.
The rate of poverty in NLSS I (1995-96) and NLSS II (2003-04), however, cannot be compared with the present NLSS (2010-11), director general of the national data bank Uttam Narayan Malla said, reasoning that the consumption pattern has grossly changed in the last one-and-a-half decade making it incomparable. Earlier, two surveys had shown poverty at 41.76 per cent and 30.85 per cent. “If we follow the similar method, the current poverty should be a little over 13 per cent,” he added.
The new poverty line takes into account changes in the food habits of the relatively poor who now consume more eggs, milk and meat. "The food basket has also changed according to changed consumption pattern," he added.
"Poverty is measured by the number of people who are unable to purchase minimum basic needs, including both food and non-food," Malla said, adding that poor sections of the society have enjoyed faster growth in private consumption between the 2003-04 and 2010-11. The bottom one-fifth of the population experienced 4.5 per cent real growth in consumption per year compared to two per cent for all section of the population.
The food basket of the poverty line is based on estimated consumption of how much a poor spend to reach a minimum caloric requirement of 2,220 Kcal per day.
Despite low-cost of living mid-and far western hills has more poverty, the NLSS III revealed, adding that poverty increases with household size and number of kids under seven years of age. Similarly, poverty is low among the people with more than one hectare of agriculture land and higher levels of education.
The NLSS III (2010-11) is the survey officially used for poverty estimation with financial assistance from DfID, DanIDA, WFP and World Bank.