Odisha among Top-5 poor states with 42% poor & 6% rich!

Malkangiri, Koraput , Nabarangpur and Nuapada have the highest concentration of adolescents in the poorest quintile. Khurda district tops the richest quintile proportion

Bhubaneswar: Odisha is yet to sit on the high table of prosperous states in the country, notwithstanding the claims made over bringing in faster reduction of poverty rate in country in the 2018-19 Odisha Economic Survey.

What is shocking is the stare still figures among the top-5 states having the largest poorest people in the country.

With a massive 42 per cent of the adolescents aged 10-19 years belonging to the poorest quintile in Odisha, the State figured as the fifth poorest state in the country.

The ‘poor’ bloc in the country is led by Bihar, and followed by Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha.

In contrast, the most ‘rich’ state list in the country is led by Goa followed by Delhi, Punjab, Kerala and Haryana. The proportion of adolescents in the richest quintile in the states are estimated at 63, 60, 48, 43 and 38 per cent, respectively.

The adolescent proportion in the richest quintile in Odisha is estimated at around a measly 6 per cent.

Poorest and richest quintile are classified on the basis of Monthly Per Capita Expenditure (MPCE). The MPCE for poorest quintile in Odisha is fixed at Rs 594 and the MPCE for richest quintile is fixed at Rs 5,545 and above.

Such prevalence of a grim poverty scenario in the State came to the fore by the recently released Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) 2016-18.

As per Odisha’s Economic Survey 2018-19, the average MPCE of Odisha has been estimated at Rs 904.78 at 2011-12 prices. While the average rural MPCE has been fixed Rs 967.93, the urban average MPCE is fixed at Rs 1,958.3.

What is MPCE? It puts in perspective the monthly spending of an individual in a household on food and non-food items. This factor determines the purchasing power of an individual in a society or an economy.

It is significant to mention that poverty is either measured on the basis of per capita income or per capita expenditure. However, experts bat for estimating the poverty on the basis of MPCE as the income data is not available.

An analysis shows that Southern Odisha districts like Malkangiri, Koraput , Nabarangpur and Nuapada have the highest concentration of adolescents in the poorest quintile, whereas the maximum people in the richest quintile are in the districts like Khurdha, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Sundergarh, Jharsuguda and Sambalpur. Khurda district tops the richest quintile proportion.

A glance at the districts very precisely reveals that the richest quintile in the State has been reported from the districts that have a well entrenched architecture of services sector or the manufacturing industries.

Significantly, as agriculture dominates the economy of 21 other districts in the State, and the districts having higher proportion of people in poorest quintile, there is a need for the State to reboot the farm sector by way of value addition to the farm produces, feel experts.