Pakistan and India have identical poverty levels now

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For the first time in the eventful post-1947 history of the Indo-Pak subcontinent, the poverty levels in both Pakistan and India are now resting at an identical yet alarming 29.5 per cent level, meaning thereby that every third Pakistani and Indian is literally fighting every hour just to beat hunger and looming starvation.

While unveiling the “Economic Survey,” Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said Thursday that 29.5 per cent of Pakistan’s total population was languishing below the poverty line.

Similarly, the August 3, 2015 report of the ‘CNN’ had quoted Indian Planning Commission’s estimates that 363 million citizens of world’s largest democracy, making up 29.5 per cent of the total population, were living below the subsistence levels.

The combined poverty figures of Pakistan and India signify that over 400 million Pakistanis and Indians are only striving today to earn a few loaves of bread and breathe.

On August 3, 2015, a ‘CNN’ report had stated: “India’s latest Socioeconomic and Caste Census paints a stark picture of widespread rural poverty and deprivation. Of the 300 million households surveyed, an overwhelming majority (73 per cent) live in villages. Of this rural population, less than five per cent earn enough to pay taxes, only 2.5 per cent own a 4-wheeler vehicle and less than 10 per cent have salaried jobs.”

In 2012, the Reserve Bank of India had stated 21.92 percent of the country’s population was below its official poverty limit and in 2010, the CIA World Factbook had calculated that the country’s poverty level was resting at 29.8 per cent.

According to United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal Programme, over 270 million or 21.9 per cent people, out of 1.2 billion of Indians, were living below poverty line of $1.25 in 2011-2012.

In 2011, the World Bank had estimated that 23.6 percent of Indian population or about 276 million people were living below $1.25 per day on purchasing power parity. It is imperative to note that since 2005, Indian government had adopted the “Tendulkar Methodology,” which moved away from calorie anchor to a basket of goods and had used rural, urban and regional minimum expenditure per capita necessary to survive.

In Pakistan, it is still not clear how the government has accurately calculated the national poverty level in absence of a fresh census.  More than a million Indians are millionaires, yet most of their compatriots live on less than two dollars a day.

India was ranked fifth in the Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2013 with the highest net-worth individuals. As of December 2013, India had 122 billionaires with net assets worth Indian rupees five billion and above.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, the finance minister revealed publicly on Thursday that an amount ranging between $65 billion and $200 billion was parked by affluent Pakistanis in the secret vaults of the Swiss banks.

Source: Geo News, Pakistan

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