NEW DELHI (AFP) – India’s economy may be growing rapidly but about a third of its rural population, or more than 200 million people, still live on 12 rupees (26 cents) a day or less, said a report.
Orissa, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh were the poorest Indian states, said the report prepared by The National Sample Survey Organisation, according to the Press Trust of India.
“Compared with 30 percent at the all-India level, in Orissa and Chattisgarh as many as 55 to 57 percent of villagers” were living on 12 rupees a day, the report said on Wednesday.
Some 10 percent of the rural population across India survived on just nine rupees a day, it said.
The poor in India’s cities appeared to be faring slightly better, with 30 percent of people spending 580 rupees a month, or 19 rupees a day.
But 10 percent of the urban poor population had to live on just 13 rupees a day, said the report, entitled “Level and Pattern of Consumer Expenditure”.
The report’s figures were based on a study carried out in 2004 and 2005.
It looked at spending by the poor on basic items such as clothing, footwear, education, medical care, durable goods, food, fuel, light and rent.
In Madhya Pradesh, 47 percent of the rural population were living on 12 rupees a day, followed by Bihar and Jharkhand, where 46 percent were living on that amount.
In Uttar Pradesh some 33 percent of the population were living on 12 rupees a day, while in Maharashtra, home to India’s financial hub, Mumbai, 30 percent lived on that amount.
Urban poverty seemed to be concentrated in states where rural poverty was high, the report said.
In Bihar, as many as 55 percent of the urban population were living on 19 rupees a day, followed by Orissa with 50 percent.
India’s economy grew 9.1 percent in the first half of the financial year to September led by strong manufacturing growth but economists say double-digit growth is needed to make a significant dent in poverty.