India has one of the best poverty reduction records since the 1980s, said the World Bank on Monday in the new World Development Indicators. Guatemala leads the rankings, China is at the third spot while India is at No. 7.
Poverty in India has fallen at a little less than 1% a year between 1987 and 1999. But compared to the progress made by other countries with similar poverty rates in 1987, India has not lived up to its potential. The rate of poverty reduction could have almost doubled. This does not mean, as some opponents on reforms would be tempted to argue, that growth does nothing to bring down poverty. The two are correlated.
But growth itself is not enough. Growth has to be accompanied by more job growth and access to health and education. Inequality should not increase. India has undoubtedly made a lot of progress on each of these fronts—but far more needs to be done.