KATHMANDU, August 18: Nepal was successful in reducing significantly poverty headcount from 30.1 percent in 2014 to 17.4 percent in 2019.
Releasing the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)-2021 Report on Wednesday, the National Planning Commission (NPC) said that about 17 individuals out of every 100 people in the country are below the poverty line. Cumulatively, 4.98 million of people in Nepal are still without access to minimum essentials for their daily lives.
According to the NPC, the country’s poverty status is based on the statistics of 2019, just before the COVID-19 hit the country. The government body conducted a survey of 53,815 people from 12,800 households to prepare the country’s MPI.
The report shows that 39.5 percent of the people in Karnali Province are poor. The figure is 25.3 percent for Sudurpaschim Province, the second in the row.
Considering the headcounts, Province 2 has the largest number of poor people. According to the NPC, Province 2 consists of 1.29 million poor people though the province has been able to significantly reduce the number of poor people compared to the statistics of 2014.
The deprivation of the poor people in housing and cooking fuel was the highest with 16.2 percent each. Over the period, Nepal got success in reducing the child mortality rate down to 0.9 percent.
Speaking at the virtual report-launching, NPC Vice-chairman Bishwo Poudel said poverty is not equally distributed in various regions of the country. He called for implementing targeted policies to reduce poverty mainly in Karnali Province and Sudurpaschim Province.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has estimated that an additional 3.1 million of Nepalis could fall into poverty in the post pandemic period. Ayshanie Labe, UNDP Resident Representative for Nepal, said the organization has projected that additionally two million children will suffer as they are deprived of going to school due to impacts of the pandemic.
The MPI based poverty report is developed jointly by the NPC and the UK-based Oxford University’s leading centre on multidimensional poverty, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). It considers 10 indicators to assess a country’s poverty level.
This is the second time Nepal has come up with the poverty estimation using the MPI as an official tool to measure national poverty. Nepal used the threshold for the first time in 2017.