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Study Suggests India's Poverty May Be Worse Than Reported


A new study released by the World Bank suggests India's poverty rate may be higher than the government's official statistics.

Researchers report many Indians whose salaries are above the government's official poverty line say it is impossible for them to meet their basic needs.

The finding suggests that the government's definition of how much income in necessary to meet basic needs is lower than what people say they need. As a result, the World Bank says the extent of India's poverty may have been underestimated if people's perceptions are taken into account.

The income levels which define poverty vary across India. However, official data indicate about one-quarter of Indians live on less than one dollar a day.

World Bank study editor Deepa Narayan tells VOA that India needs to create better economic opportunities for people living in rural areas.

Meanwhile, the World Bank study says helping the poor create assets such as housing and land is key in helping them escape poverty.

The World Bank's findings are in a study called "Moving out of Poverty." The report is part of a 15 country research effort in Africa, East Asia, South Asia and Latin America.

The World Bank says its findings in India are based on interviews with 30,000 people between 1995 and 2005. It says the research came from four Indian states -- Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

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