Amitabh Bachchan, of course, thinks that India is no longer a third-world country; that it is a developed one. But have economic reforms—the process of liberalistion, globalisation and privatisation that began in 1991—reduced poverty?
The World Bank’s latest estimates of global poverty show that every third poor person in the world lives in rising, shining India. Of the total 1.4 billion global poor, 33 per cent are here. Worse, poverty came down much faster between 1981 and 1990, than between 1991 and 2005.
According to the new estimates, 828 million people (or 75.6% of India’s population) live on less than $2 a day (approximately Rs 80). In contrast, in sub-Saharan Africa, 551 million people (or 72.2% of population) live on less than $2 a day.
1980: 421 million (60% of population) live on less than $1.25 (approximately Rs 50) a day mark
1990: 436 million (51% of population)
1999: 447 million (45% of population)
2005: 456 million people (42% of population)
Map: courtesy earthtrends; data from World Bank working paper 2003