Around 6 million Nepalis struggle to make up basic needs
KATHMANDU, Feb 13: A total of 20.27 percent of Nepalis are living under the poverty line, down by 4.93 percentage points compared to 12 years ago.
The report entitled ‘Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS)-IV’ unveiled by the National Statistics Office (NSO) on Monday shows that 20.27 percent of the population are in Multidimensional Poverty. The figure was 25.2 percent in the Nepal Living Standards Survey-III held in 2010/11.
Based on the population size of 29,164,000, a total of 5.911 million people have been living below the poverty line.
Min Bahadur Shrestha, vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission, said the poverty rate has not declined as per the expectation. “It was mainly due to the impacts of the earthquake and COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
The NSO report shows that Sudurpashchim has the highest percent of poverty while the ratio is the lowest in Gandaki Province. The poverty rate in Sudurpashchim Province stands at 34.16 percent.
Similarly, Karnali Province falls second in terms of poverty percentage. The province has 26.69 percent of the people living without basic needs.
The poverty ratio in Lumbini Province is 24.35 percent, Madhesh Province is 22.53 percent and that in Koshi Province is 17.19 percent. Likewise, 12.59 percent of the people in Bagmati Province are poor, while the ratio in Gandaki Province is 11.88 percent.
Likewise, 24.66 percent of the people living in rural areas are under the poverty line, while 18.34 percent of people in urban areas are poor.
Hem Raj Regmi, deputy chief of the NSO, said the office this time has revised the threshold to measure the poverty rate. The government has revised annual consumption expenditure to Rs 72,908 per capita as the measure of the poverty line. Previously, the threshold was Rs 42,845 per capita per annum.
In terms of the calorie measurement, the new poverty line has been maintained at 2,236 kCal per capita per year. According to the threshold of 2010/11, the poverty line was defined at 2,220 kCal per capita per year.
Over the period, expenditure of Nepalis in food items has declined to 53 percent from 62 percent. On the other hand, the average expenditure on non-food items has increased to 47 percent from 38 percent.
According to the NLSS-IV, the electrification ratio has increased from 70 percent to 94 percent in the past 12 years. Likewise, the average distance for accessibility of nearby community hospitals has reduced from 13.9 km to 9.3 km, while the accessibility to black-topped roads has reduced from 14.01 km to 4.16 km.
The NSO had come up with the report based on the survey of 9,600 households carried out in one year during mid-June 2022 and mid-June 2023.