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Nepal's poverty reduction progress 'fastest': Oxford study
Publication Date : 19-03-2013
Nepal has made the “fastest progress” in reducing multidimensional poverty, according to a study by Oxford University.
The study, conducted by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), showed the percentage of the poor in Nepal dropped by 4.1 percentage points per year between 2006 and 2011.
Of the 22 countries analysed for changes in the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), Nepal , Rwanda and Bangladesh were found to have made the largest absolute reductions. Poverty rates in Rwanda and Bangladesh decreased by 3.4 and 3.2 percentage points per year, respectively.
According to the OPHI study titled ‘How Multidimensional Poverty Went Down: Dynamics and Comparison’, the percentage of Nepali population under multidimensional poverty declined from 64.7 per cent to 44.2 per cent during the period.
In addition to reducing the percentage of poor people, Nepal and Bangladesh both reduced the intensity of poverty, according to the study. This means even the poor people were on average less poor - deprived in fewer things at the same time - than they had been before, an important element of multidimensional poverty analysis that provides a more balanced picture of poor people’s lives.
“Most ‘top performing’ countries reduced MPI poverty as fast or faster than income poverty , with Nepal, in particular, making stellar progress in cutting both,” states the study.
According to the study, the strongest reductions in deprivations in Nepal were made in indicators such as assets, electricity and school attendance, but all 10 indicators saw significant reductions.
“While the rise in income due to increased rural wages and remittances clearly affected the reduction in asset deprivation, the dramatic increase in access to electricity and schooling was largely the result of NGO and government interventions,” states the study.
National Planning Commission Vice-chairman Dipendra Bahadur Kshetry said the reduction in poverty was due to increased wage rate, remittance and the government’s targeted programmes to reduce poverty and deliver social services.
“We have deployed women health attendants in villages to help women during delivery, and the government is engaging itself in setting the minimum wage rates,” said Kshetry.
The poverty measure used by OPHI - the global MPI - is based on progresses in areas such as malnutrition, education and sanitation, providing a high-resolution lens on their lives. If people are deprived in a third or more of 10 (weighted) indicators, they are identified as ‘MPI poor’.
The global MPI, which was developed by OPHI and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2010 and has been published in the HDR ever since, assesses multidimensional poverty in 104 countries.