Friday, March 15, 2013

Nepal to eradicate poverty in next two decades

Experts today hailed the encouraging trend of poverty reduction in the country claiming that it might take only two decades to eradicate poverty in Nepal, if the current trend continues.
"If the current trend of poverty reduction continues, Nepal will be able to eradicate poverty in around 20 years," said director of Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative from the Oxford University Dr Sabina Alkire while presenting the concept and methodology of Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), here today.
In 2006, the MPI figure stood at 0.350 (65 per cent poor) but has come down to 0.217 (44.2 per cent) in 2011, she said, lauding Nepal's efforts in reducing the poverty headcount by 4.5 per cent annually. "The Terai has been able to reduce poverty faster than the hills," she added.

The proportion of population living under extreme poverty is the highest  at 29.2 per cent in the Mid-Western Development Region, according to Human Development Report 2013. The second largest population living in extreme poverty is from the Far Western Region, followed by the Central, Eastern and Western regions. While segregating the population of each region too, the highest percentage living in the western mountains are in severe poverty with 60.9 per cent followed by those living in the far western and central Terai with 53.4 per cent of the population.

According to the data, the poorest region has 72 per cent MPI, whereas the least poor region has 30 per cent MPI, which is based on three dimensions — health, education and living standard — and 10 indicators — nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, water, electricity, floor and assets — which are equally weighted.
"A person is identified as multidimensionally poor, if he/she is deprived in at least one third of the dimensions, as one deprivation alone may not represent poverty," according to Alkire. "Likewise, income poverty may not mean they are not deprived of any basic social service and vice versa."
There must be causality analysis as the country has seen reduction in absolute poverty but still relative poverty is a challenging issue, said central bank governor Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada. He also urged for the formation of a global indicator for poverty calculation, as the various indicators including MDG, and Human Poverty Index (HPI) will create more confusion and may not reflect the real comparable picture.
"There could be some indicators that are a must globally and others optional or could be customised according to the national need," he said, adding that Multidimensional Poverty Index would, however, help develop indicators to map development post-2015.
However, UNDP country director Shoko Noda opined that indicators of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cannot reflect the complete picture of poverty and countries are encouraged to develop indicators in line with MPI that can reflect the real picture of poverty.
Similarly, director general of Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) Uttam Narayan Malla explained the difference between MPI — that has claimed 44.2 per cent poor — and third Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS III) — that has claimed 25.2 per cent — below the poverty line.
"NLSS is a consumption based survey that calculates on the basis of calorie intake by a person, whereas MPI has its own dimensions and indicators," he said, adding that despite different models, both have reflected a reduction in poverty in the country, which is encouraging.
Likewise, economist Dr Bal Gopal Baidhya said that the poverty headcount rate has reduced in the country, despite sluggish economic growth rate from 2006 to 2011 and weaker institutions

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