Only 12 percent of the Bhutanese population remains poor states the newly released Poverty Analysis Report. The report which suggests that almost 89,000 people of over 0.7 million Bhutanese is poor, points out that this is half the number since five years ago.
The study of poverty in the country which was carried out by the National Statistics Bureau together with the World Bank shows Bhutan has improved, remarkably, in its poverty reduction record compared to the rest of the developing world. This is an indication that Bhutan is quickly catching up with the least poor countries.
“The lesson for other countries, particularly, on how Bhutan has been able to progress– a country which is governed well is able to achieve poverty reduction faster. Also public goods are more equal for poor and the non-poor: they have equal access to water, sanitation, health, electricity. These are conscious public policy decisions made by the government. Therefore, you expect poverty to be reducing fast in such a good environment.” says Srinivasan G. Thirumalai, a senior economist with the World Bank.
He also said poverty reduction could be due to robust economic growth fuelled by hydropower, which is also being efficiently used.
Kuenga Tshering, the Head of the National Statistics Bureau said it is not surprising for Bhutan to have halved poverty, as there were concerted efforts made at every level including budgeting. For instance, the country had doubled the national expenditure to meet the target of the Tenth Five Year plan to reduce poverty by 15 percent.