Poverty rate now 31.5pc
FHM Humayan Kabir
The poverty rate of Bangladesh dropped to 31.5 per cent in 2010, reflecting an 8.5 percentage point decline in the last five years, a top official of the ministry of planning said quoting the latest Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES).
The findings of the latest HIES by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) showed that the poverty-cut in rural areas played a key role in slashing hunger in the country.
According to the HIES 2010 data, poverty in the rural areas shrunk by 8.60 percentage points to 35.2 per cent in 2010 from 43.80 per cent in 2005.
The hunger in the urban areas also declined by 7.10 percentage points to 21.3 per cent in 2010 from 28.40 per cent in 2005, the survey data, which is yet to be published, showed.
The state-owned BBS’s latest HIES survey said the poverty rate dropped significantly as the income and purchasing capacity of the people increased.
The last HIES survey in 2005 showed that 40 per cent of the people of Bangladesh, out of its total population, lived below the poverty line.
According to the last survey data, the 43.80 per cent of the total rural population was poor while 28.40 per cent people in the urban areas lived below the poverty line.
Member of General Economics Division (GED) of the Ministry of Planning Professor Shamsul Alam said: “It is very obvious that the poverty rate dropped significantly over the last five years.”
According to the latest HIES survey, the poverty rate fell to 31.5 per cent as the income and purchasing power of the people went up.
“The increased remittances, spread of modern agricultural method, improvements in rural infrastructure and flow of micro-credit to the ultra-poor played an important role in cutting down hunger in the country,” he told the FE.
He said: “Normally if the GDP (gross domestic product) growth increases one percentage point, the poverty rate undergoes a cut by 0.4 percentage points a year.”
Prof. Alam said the non-farm economic activities with the development of rural infrastructural facilities like road communications, helped reduce poverty and hunger in the country.
Under the proposed perspective plan for the year up to 2021, the government is committed to cutting extreme poverty to 10 per cent and achieving double-digit GDP growth by 2021, the terminal year of its implementation.
Based on the perspective plan, the government is also framing the sixth five year development plan to achieve the targets of scoring double-digit growth, developing the country’s weak infrastructure and cutting hunger.