The Head Count Ratio serves as a metric to measure the number of individuals below the poverty line, indicating the proportion of people living in poverty. In India, the Planning Commission releases official poverty data, relying on household consumption expenditure data gathered by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO).

Poverty Ratio and Number of Poor

1. According to the latest estimates (Tendulkar method) by the Planning Commission based on the 68th round of NSSO (2011-12), there has been a noteworthy decline in the percentage of people living below the poverty line over the past two decades. The Economic Survey 2013-14 reveals the following trends in absolute poverty:

2. The annual average decline from 2004-05 to 2011-12 was 2.18 percentage points per annum.

3. Poverty has decreased from 37.2 percent in 2004-05 to 21.9 percent in 2011-12.

Rural-Urban Break-up of Poverty

The pattern observed is as follows:

1. The decline in poverty was more pronounced in rural areas, with the percentage falling to 25.7 percent (2011-12) from 41.8 percent (2004-05).

2. In urban areas, the percentage of people living below the poverty line decreased to 13.7 percent (2011-12) from 25.7 percent in 2004-05.

3. The number of people living below the poverty line was estimated at 269.3 million in 2011-12, reflecting a decline of 137.8 million from 2004-05 to 2011-12.

Regional Variation in Incidence of Poverty (Reflecting relative poverty)

Poverty incidence exhibits regional disparities across states, as evident from the following data (Source: Economic Survey 2015-16):

1. Bihar stands as the poorest state, with 33.7 percent of people living below the poverty line, followed by Odisha (32.6 percent) and Assam (32.0 percent).

2. Kerala boasts the lowest poverty level at 7.1 percent, followed by Himachal Pradesh at 8.1 percent.

3. In Delhi, 1.6 million people are living below the poverty line.

Nature of Poverty

In rural areas, the impoverished typically include landless agricultural laborers, small and marginal farmers. In urban areas, individuals facing poverty are those who are unemployed, underemployed, or engaged in low-productivity occupations with meager wages. Approximately three-fourths of the impoverished population in India resides in rural areas, signifying a shift in the prevalence of poverty from predominantly rural to urban areas.

Objective Type Questions

1. What does the Head Count Ratio measure in the context of poverty?

A. Regional disparities

B. Number of individuals below the poverty line

C. Urban employment rates

D. Nature of poverty

Answer: B. Number of individuals below the poverty line

2. Which data source does the Planning Commission rely on for official poverty estimates in India?

A. Census data

B. Employment surveys

C. National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO)

D. Economic Survey data

Answer: C. National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO)

3. What trend does the Economic Survey 2013-14 reveal about absolute poverty in India?

A. Constant increase

B. Consistent decline

C. Fluctuations

D. Unpredictable patterns

Answer: B. Consistent decline

4. In which areas did the decline in poverty rate show a more significant decrease, according to the Rural-Urban Break-up of Poverty?

A. Urban areas

B. Both rural and urban areas equally

C. Rural areas

D. No significant change

Answer: C. Rural areas

5.What percentage of people were estimated to be living below the poverty line in Bihar, according to the data from the Economic Survey 2015-16?

A. 25.6 percent

B. 32.0 percent

C. 33.7 percent

D. 41.8 percent

Answer: C. 33.7 percent

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