The Kathmandu Post, 26 Oct 2017
Nepal will soon start using global indicators to measure poverty in a bid to capture severe deprivations that make people poor.
The government is currently measuring poverty based on consumption of food. As per this approach, calorie intake of each person must stand at 2,200 kcal per day for which Rs19,600 is required per year. This means people who earn less than Rs19,600 per year are referred to as ‘poor’.
This income-based technique of measuring poverty is not faulty and the government intends to continue using this methodology to conduct a headcount of the poor. But poverty, according to global experts, is not one dimensional, as multiple factors play a role in making people poor. This awareness led to creation of Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which was first released in 2010.
The MPI was created by Sabina Alkire, Maria Emma Santos and other researchers at Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the Oxford University.
The MPI, according to OPHI’s website, complements traditional income-bas
A total of 10 indicators-nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, improved sanitation, safe drinking water, electricity, flooring and assets-is then taken into consideration to measure poverty. If a person is deprived in at least a third of 10 weighted indicators, that individual is identified as ‘poor’.
The government will now use these indicators as well to gauge poverty in the country.
“We have completed almost 80 percent of the works on Nepal MPI,” said Suman Raj Aryal, director general of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), which is closely working with its parent body, the National Planning Commission, to introduce the Nepal MPI. “We will release the results in December.”
The CBS is receiving support from the Oxford University to prepare the Nepal MPI. A team of the university, which was here to support the CBS, left Nepal on Tuesday. The CBS is planning to introduce a country report on multidimensional poverty and separate reports on seven different provinces.
Nepal is relying on the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey, which is conducted every five years, and other datasets to prepare these reports. “If this survey and other datasets are not available on time, we may not be able to release Nepal MPI every year,” said Aryal.
MPI was designed to compare acute poverty across developing nations. “It is, thus, most relevant to less developed countries,” says OPHI website. “The MPI methodology shows aspects in which the poor are deprived and helps to reveal the interconnections among those deprivations.
This enables policymakers to target resources and design policies more effectively.”
Many countries are now using MPIs to advance the United Nations-backed Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 goals and 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues, which have to be achieved by 2030.