Sri Lanka’s poverty figure lowest in Asia - WimalMarch 19, 2012, 10:58 pm
By Maheesha Mudugamuwa
Sri Lanka has recorded the lowest number of people suffering from abject poverty in the Asian region, Construction Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa said.
According to the Census and Statistics Department, the poverty rate in Sri Lanka had been reduced from 22.7 percent in 2002 to 15.2 percent in 2006/7 and to 8.9 percent in 2009/10. Rural poverty dropped from 24.7 percent in 2002 to 9.4 percent in 2009/10. The impressive reduction of poverty since 2006 is attributed to the reduction in poverty levels in the estate sector and in rural areas.
Weerawansa pointed out that the number of persons suffering from abject poverty in Sri Lanka stood at seven percent while it was 32.7 percent in neighboring India.
According to the World Bank, the poverty headcount ratio which is the percent of population earning below US $1.25 a day (PPP) in Sri Lanka declined from 14 percent in 2002 to 07 percent in 2007.
"Poverty is the main reason for anti-social activities, Poverty forces people to commit crimes as well as other activities. Drug addicts are common in poor families," Weerawansa said.
According to him, the Urban Habitat Development Authority has taken a number of measures to enhance the living standards of the poor people by providing self- employment loans and houses.