The number of poor people in India, according to the country’s Eleventh National Development Plan, amounts to more than 300 million. The country has been successful in reducing the proportion of poor people from about 55 per cent in 1973 to about 27 per cent in 2004.
But almost one third of the country’s population of more than 1.1 billion continues to live below the poverty line, and a large proportion of poor people live in rural areas. Poverty remains a chronic condition for almost 30 per cent of India’s rural population. The incidence of rural poverty has declined somewhat over the past three decades as a result of rural to urban migration.
Poverty affects tribal people in forest areas, where loss of entitlement to resources has made them even poorer. In coastal fishing communities people's living conditions are deteriorating because of environmental degradation, stock depletion and vulnerability to natural disasters.