The latest report of National Family Health Survey-4 clearly reflects the concerns of the Southern States more than any that the North is depending on it for its betterment.
The latest report of National Family Health Survey-4 clearly reflects the concerns of the Southern States more than any that the North is depending on it for its betterment. Going by the report, India's global poverty rank has improved in leaps. According to the study, the poverty levels have fallen from 55 per cent to 21 per cent in a decade. But that in itself does not reveal the real picture.
A closure scrutiny of the statistics tells us that but for the Southern States contribution to the overall picture, such a decrease in the poverty levels would not have been possible. There is already a consternation among the South that the North is unduly exploiting it. Though some in the country might feel this as a skewed argument, there is little to justify the backwardness of some of the States even after this many years after independence.
The lack of growth and development could only be attributed to the ruling classes who come to power using North's numerical strength and yet neglect its people. It is a pity. India's Multidimensional Poverty (MDP) has dropped much between 2005-06 to 2015-16; it is largely due to the stellar performance of the Southern States. This factor has contributed to bringing down the poverty level in the decade to 21 per cent from 55 per cent.
This has made India move to 26th rank in the global position from its earlier 54 among 102 developing nations with MDP. This is not just a poverty factor or a story of poverty. It should be understood properly as to what MDP exactly signifies to the people. MDP is "an international measure of acute poverty" based on three priority components of health, education and living standards.
So a higher MDP level means people of the States are deprived of these three major factors and are backwardised deliberately. The lower burden of poverty among the Southern States has led to the rate of 3.4 points per annum on average.
While the national average is 21 per cent as the National Family Health Survey-4 report has suggested, it should be noted that the five Southern States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh average only 9 per cent. Among these, Kerala has an MDP of 1 per cent, Tamil Nadu (6 per cent), Karnataka (11 per cent), Telangana (14 per cent and Andhra Pradesh (13 per cent).
Compare these figures against the Northern States: Bihar is the poorest State with 43 per cent incidence of MDP, Jharkhand has 36 per cent, Uttar Pradesh has 31 per cent, Rajasthan has 31 per cent, Odisha has 29 per cent, Madhya Pradesh has 28 per cent and Assam has 25 per cent.
Kerala's growth story is significant here. It had a MDP rate of 12 per cent in 2005-06. By 2015-16 it declined to just 1 per cent. Of the 640 districts, 31 districts in eastern or central India have over 50 per cent MDP. The largest prevalence of MDP is in Shravasti, Bahraich and Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh and Alirajpur and Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. A sad story!