Article published in The New Age
Published on: 15/05/2011
Reflecting on the journey towards poverty reduction – critical examination of few issues. An elaborate version of the paper was presented at a workshop in Addis Ababa.
Available poverty estimates suggest that while there have been declines in the incidence of poverty in all countries in South Asia, the target of halving poverty (from benchmarks reported for 1990) may only be realised in Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The pace of decline was reportedly high immediately after the benchmark year; however, there are reasons to believe it slowed down in the recent past. The single story that holds out for all countries in South Asia, as revealed by the World Bank estimates, is the persistent decline in poverty gap from 1990 till 2005. Most national-level estimates, on the other hand, indicate increasing inequality (measured by Gini coefficient) in the same period. If the numbers have universal appeals, one may conclude that there have been declines in the measured incidence of poverty but not enough to keep the number of poor people from increasing in South Asia. However, there are questions on the very measures, particularly the changes introduced in methods.