24 Jul 2013

India data shows poverty levels sharply down

10:32 pm on 24 July 2013

New data released by the Indian government suggest a sharp decline in poverty over the past seven years.

The figures show a fall in the number of Indians classed as poor to just 22% of the population.

They suggest that despite the slowing down of the economy in the past two years, India has succeeded in sharply reducing poverty - particularly in some of its poorest states including Bihar, the BBC reports.

Rapid economic growth in the first half of the last decade and massive social spending are being described as the main factors behind the decline.

But poverty statistics are highly controversial in India, since they determine who gets to benefit from state welfare programmes.

The drop contrasts with a World Bank estimate that nearly 70% of Indians live on less than $2 a day.