Which is India’s Poorest State?

Map of India Highlighting the Poorest State
Map of India depicting the poorest state in the country

As per the Annual Report of Reserve Bank of India published in 2013, Chhattisgarh is the poorest state in India, with 39.93% of people living below the poverty line. Despite India being the fastest growing economies of the world, its many states are entrapped in grim poverty. On the one hand, India is home to megacities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Delhi, where the majority of people have access to a decent standard of living; on the other hand, there are several states in India where people are not having access to the basic amenities and are living below the poverty line.

The ranks in the Annual Report of Reserve Bank of India is based on the MRP-consumption and are according to the percentage of people living below the poverty line. In India, Below Poverty Line is a benchmark set by the government to identify economically disadvantaged individuals and households in need of government aid. As of 2011-12, the National Poverty Line is Rs 816 per capita per month in rural areas, whereas it is Rs 1,000 per capita per month in urban areas. Chhattisgarh is the poorest state, with 39.93% of the population living below the poverty line. Since 2004, up till 2011-12, there was a nominal reduction of poverty, from 40.9% to 39.93%. Chhattisgarh was followed by Jharkand, with 36.96% of the population living below the poverty line. The SDG India Index & Dashboard, 2019-20, released by the NITI Aayog, uses the same data from the Reserve Bank of India to calculate the poverty score of the states. As per the SDG Index, India is far from achieving its goal of eradicating poverty by 2030. Much of India’s poverty is concentrated in rural areas and low-income States.

Reasons why Chhattisgarh is the poorest state

In spite of being a resource-rich state, Chhattisgarh is the poorest state in India. Almost 80% of the population of Chhattisgarh lives in rural areas, with poor connectivity and limited access to resources. Chhattisgarh also has large areas under forest, and the impoverished rural areas are located near these remote and inaccessible forests. The people of Chhattisgarh are thus left with an unstable and unreliable income, leading to poverty.

Here is the list of states according to the percentage of people below the poverty line:

S. No. State/UT %age of People Below Poverty Line, 2011-12
1 Chhattisgarh 39.93
2 Jharkhand 36.96
3 Manipur 36.89
4 Arunachal Pradesh 34.67
5 Bihar 33.74
6 Odisha 32.59
7 Assam 31.98
8 Madhya Pradesh 31.65
9 Uttar Pradesh 29.43
10 Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu 28.79
11 Chandigarh 21.81
12 Karnataka 20.91
13 Mizoram 20.4
14 West Bengal 19.98
15 Nagaland 18.88
16 Maharashtra 17.35
17 Gujarat 16.63
18 Rajasthan 14.71
19 Tripura 14.05
20 Meghalaya 11.87
21 Tamil Nadu 11.28
22 Uttarakhand 11.26
23 Haryana 11.16
24 Jammu & Kashmir 10.35
25 Ladakh 10.35
26 Delhi 9.91
27 Puducherry 9.69
28 Andhra Pradesh 9.2
29 Telangana 9.2
30 Punjab 8.26
31 Sikkim 8.19
32 Himachal Pradesh 8.06
33 Kerala 7.05
34 Goa 5.09
35 Lakshadweep 2.77
36 Andaman & Nicobar Islands 1
37 India 21.92

Related Map:

Map of Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh Map

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