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Number of Indian poor falls to 22% of population: Data

Published on Jul 24, 2013 12:13 AM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The percentage of Indians living below the poverty line has fallen to 22 per cent from 37 per cent in just seven years, according to official data released on Tuesday, but the figures were dismissed by critics as "deeply flawed".

Calculating poverty is a hugely controversial topic in Asia's third-largest economy and the debate over the latest numbers could prove particularly heated as they come ahead of an election year in which the Congress government is seeking a third term.

The poverty rate fell by a robust 15 percentage points to 22 per cent in 2011-12 from 37 per cent in 2004-05, the figures from India's influential economic Planning Commission showed.

While economic growth slowed last year to a decade low of 5 per cent, the Congress government, in power since 2004, argues near double-digit expansion in previous years has driven a dramatic reduction in poverty in the country of 1.2 billion people.

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