2. a profile of the poor



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2. A PROFILE OF THE POOR




2.1 The Extent of Poverty in Sri Lanka
Efforts to reduce poverty must begin with an informed understanding of the nature and magnitude of poverty in Sri Lanka. But for this, definitional issues matter. Poverty is experienced in a number of dimensions. Those who are unable to afford basic necessities will certainly be regarded as poor. Individuals who lack access to essential collective goods and services will also normally be regarded as poor. And poverty has dimensions that extend well beyond economic considerations and into the realm of political and human rights. Individuals, households and even communities do not necessarily suffer equally from all dimensions of poverty at the same time. To understand poverty implies a need to examine impoverishment from a variety of perspectives.
Poverty yardsticks are inevitably subjective, for perceptions of poverty are undoubtedly linked to changing social perceptions. In Sri Lanka, the combination of economic progress, urbanization, globalization and liberalization has altered expectations and raised the threshold for what the general population would regard as "poor". Public policy must respond to poverty in its many dimensions, taking into consideration both a technical assessment of poverty and the perceptions of the population at large.
Absolute poverty is most commonly measured with respect to the ability of a household to afford a minimum set of consumption requirements. In this approach, a food poverty line is first derived using the cost of a food bundle that satisfies a food energy requirement, at given tastes and preferences. To this is added an amount equal to the average non-food consumption of those who can just afford to meet their food energy requirements. Twenty percent is added to the low poverty line to take into consideration the arbitrariness that necessarily exists when a poverty line is defined. For 1996/1997, provisional estimates based on the Central Bank data gives the lower poverty line at Rs.860 per person per month and the higher poverty line at Rs.1,032 per person per month1.
According to the lower poverty line, 3.3 million out of 17.5 million people (excluding the population of the North-Eastern province) were classified as poor in 1996/97. Using the higher poverty line, 4.5 million out of 17.5 million people are classified as poor. Thus, between one-fifth to one-third of the total population (barring the North-East) can be considered “poor” in the mid-1990s, using a consumption poverty yardstick (Table 2.1). The fact that very many households are near-poor explains why the incidence of consumption-poverty is so sensitive to modest changes in the poverty line. This large group of near-poor households are highly vulnerable to seasonal and cyclical changes in incomes and employment.
Table 2.1: Consumption Poverty in Sri Lanka - 1996/97




Head Count2

Percentages



Poverty Gap3

Percentages



Severity Index4

Percentages



Lower (Rs.860 per person per month)

19

4

1

Higher (Rs.1032 per person per month)

31

7

3

Source: Consumer Finances and Socio-Economic Survey 1996/97, Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Poverty levels fell sharply during the 1970s and 1980s. But in the 1990s, progress in reducing poverty has slowed. Diagram 2.1 below presents the trends in consumption poverty from 1985 to 1997. Poverty levels increased in 1996 due to the drought and fell again in 1997. But overall, there is little evidence of a significant reduction in poverty levels in the 1990s. The fact that so much effort was put into poverty reduction in the 1990s, together with evidence that poverty incidence remains quite high, suggests the need for major changes in the approach taken to combating poverty.
A measure of caution is needed in interpreting the trends in poverty incidence. The 1996 and the 1997 data are drawn from different data sources (Census and Statistics and Central Bank) which rely on different survey samples and construct their poverty lines in a slightly different fashion. Accordingly, the 1996 and 1997 incidence measures are not strictly comparable. Furthermore, neither survey captures the changes in poverty conditions in the Northeast. Nonetheless, in interpreting the time trends, the weight of evidence suggests that little progress has been made in reducing poverty in the first half of the 1990s except in the urban areas.
Poverty is not only manifested in an inability to afford basic consumption goods, but also in terms of a lack of access to basic needs such as access to education, health care, safe drinking water, safe sanitation facilities, and electricity. The 1998 UNDP Human Development Report estimates the proportion of population lacking access to education (non-enrolment at the basic, junior secondary level - grades 1 to 9) at 9%, to safe drinking water at 28%, to safe sanitation facilities at 24%, and to electricity at 56% in 19945.
S
ource: Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1985/86, 1990/91 and 1995/96

Dept. of Census & Statistics.

Consumer Finances and Socio-Economic Survey 1996/97, Central Bank

Provisional estimates based on Central Bank data is not strictly comparable

with estimates for the other years.

Table 2.2: Components of Human Poverty - Sri Lanka 1994





Population Without Access to Safe Water

Births Not in Institutions

Population Without Access to Electricity

Population Lacking Access to Safe Sanitation

Schooling non-enrolment Rate

Grade 1-9



Human Poverty Index

National Human Development Report, UNDP

28

16

56

24

9

18

Dept. of Census & Statistics

32

-

-

37

-

-

Note: Human Poverty Index combines income and access to basic needs in a composite index of poverty.

Source: National Human Development Report 1998, UNDP. Demographic Survey 1994, Dept of Census & Statistics.



Regional Dimensions of Poverty. Some parts of Sri Lanka are far poorer than others.

In 1996, the provincial poverty level ranged from 55% of the households in Uva province (worst) to 23% of the households in Western province (best). Although only 23% of the households in the Western province are poor, in absolute numbers it has the largest concentration of the poor because almost one-third of the nation’s population (31%) lives there (Table 2.3).



Table 2.3: Incidence of Poverty (Provincial Level)

Province

HIES 1995/96

Human Poverty Index




Lower Poverty Line

Higher Poverty Line




Western

14

23

14

Central

28

43

23

Southern

26

41

20

North Western

34

52

21

North Central

31

47

24

Uva

37

55

27

Sabaragamuwa

32

47

23

Source: Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1995/96, Dept of Census & Statistics.
T
he Western province is home to the largest proportion of the total poor, i.e., 19% (using the higher poverty line). By contrast, only 7% of the total poor are in the North-Central province although 47% of its households are poor, because it is a sparsely populated province.
Source: Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1995/96, Dept of Census & Statistics.

In terms of access to basic needs, human poverty indices range from 14% in the Western province to 27% in the Uva province (Table 2.3). In general, consumption poverty indices are much higher than human-poverty levels. This reveals the fact that poverty in Sri Lanka is far more one of low-incomes and consumption than one of access to basic services.



District-wise poverty distribution. There is also enormous district-wise variation in poverty levels. Consumption poverty incidence ranges from 10% in the Colombo district to 49% in the Moneragala district (Table 2.4). In ten districts, consumption poverty levels are more than fifty percent higher than the respective human poverty levels (Kalutara, Kandy, Matale, Galle, Matara, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Moneragala, and Ratnapura). In six other districts, the levels are about the same (Table 2.4). In general, those districts that exhibit a lack of access to basic services (e.g. public infrastructure) have a much higher incidence of consumption poverty. This suggests those regions disadvantaged in terms of economic and social infrastructure are bound to exhibit a high incidence of consumption poverty.




Kurunegala district is the home of the largest share of the total poor with 12%, which is greater than its share of the total population (9%). The Polonnaruwa district, site of major investments in irrigation, has just 2% of the total numbers of poor households, which is roughly the same as its population share (2.0%) (Diagram 2.3).



Source: Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1995/96, Dept of Census & Statistics.



N.B. based on higher poverty line of Rs.950 per person per month.

Table 2.4: Incidence of Poverty (District-wise)

District

HIES 1995/96

Human Poverty Index




Lower Poverty Line Percentages

Higher Poverty Line Percentages




Colombo

10

19

13

Gampaha

11

21

12

Kalutara

26

38

16

Kandy

30

42

17

Matale

35

51

22

Nuwara Eliya

21

40

31

Galle

25

39

19

Matara

28

44

19

Hambantota

27

43

23

Kurunegala

34

53

22

Puttalam

33

51

19

Anuradhapura

33

50

21

Polonnaruwa

27

40

28

Badulla

30

48

27

Moneragala

49

66

29

Ratnapura

37

52

25

Kegalle

25

41

24

Source: Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1995/96, Dept of Census & Statistics.

National Human Development Report 1998, UNDP.




Rural-Urban Poverty. Poverty in Sri Lanka is predominantly a rural phenomenon. Close to 90 percent of the poor are reported to live in rural areas (Diagram 2.4). But estimates of rural and urban poverty should be interpreted with a great deal of caution because of the way in which “urban” and “rural” are defined. Until the late 1980s, the areas under municipal councils, urban councils, and town councils were all classified as urban areas. In the early-1990s, the area under town councils was reclassified as rural. According to available statistics, the urban population in Sri Lanka is only 22% of the total population. But it could be much higher if a more rigorous classification for “urban” and “rural” is used.




Source: Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1995/96.
According to consumption poverty estimates for 1995/96, the extent of poverty in urban, rural, and estate sectors is 15%, 27% and 25%, respectively, using the lower poverty line, and 25%, 41% and 45%, respectively, using the higher poverty line (Table 2.5). According to the lower poverty line the estate sector has fared marginally better than the rural sector, and according to the higher poverty line the reverse is the case. In terms of social indicators, such as housing facilities, access to education and health services, access to safe drinking water, safe sanitation and electricity, infant mortality rate, and malnutrition, the estate sector may be worse off than the rural sector.

Table 2.5: Consumption Poverty Levels by Sector - 1995/96

Sector

Head Count

Poverty Gap

Severity Index




Lower Poverty Line %

Higher Poverty Line) %

Lower Poverty Line %

Higher Poverty Line) %

Lower Poverty Line %

Higher Poverty Line %

Urban

15

25

3

6

1

2

Rural

27

41

6

11

2

4

Estate

25

45

5

10

2

3

Source: Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1995/96, Dept of Census & Statistics.
Rural poverty is also reflected in inequitable access to economic infrastructure. Less than 30% of all rural areas have access to electricity and less than 15% of all rural populations have access to telecommunication services or a sub-post office. Out of a total road length of about 100,000 km in the country, approximately 80% are rural roads. But even where facilities are available, such as roads, the quality of infrastructure services is poorer in rural than in urban areas.
Though the incidence of urban consumption poverty is the lowest (vis-à-vis rural and estate consumption poverty), the urban poor are more vulnerable to certain psycho-social strains. Sociological research finds that the urban poor are more prone towards marital instability, crime, domestic violence, and alcoholism than are the rural poor6.
Gender Poverty. Unlike in many other countries, there isn’t strong evidence to suggest that female-headed households are any poorer than male-headed households in Sri Lanka. In terms of gender differences, the consumption poverty data are inconclusive. According to the results of the 1995/96 Household Income and Expenditure Survey, the proportion of impoverished male-headed households is actually greater than the proportion of impoverished female-headed households (Diagram 2.5).
S
ource: Household Income and Expenditure Survey, 1995/96, Dept of Census & Statistics.
Using the lower poverty line, the incidence of poverty among male-headed and female-headed households is 26% and 22% respectively. Applying the higher poverty line, the figures are 40% and 36% respectively. Qualitative surveys suggest that some of the poorest families are female-headed, especially in the conflict areas.
According to the results of the 1996/97 Consumer Finances and Socio-Economic Survey of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, female-headed households are not poorer, on average, than male-headed households. Furthermore, in 84 percent of the cases, the main income receiver of a poor household is male7.
The UNDP's Gender Development Index (GDI) for Sri Lanka is almost 70% 8, which is well above the average for all developing countries (56%) as well as the global average (64%) 9. Provincial and district-wise disparities in GDI are quite limited. The UNDP’s Gender Empowerment Index (GEM) measures the relative empowerment of women vis-à-vis men in economic and political spheres.10 The GEM for Sri Lanka is only 31%, which is lower than the average for all developing countries (37%) as well as the World average (42%)(Table 2.6). The low empowerment measure is a reflection of the limited participation of women in politics and in the senior ranks of government and the private sector. There is also a substantial disparity in the GEM amongst different parts of the country.

Table 2.6: Gender Development and Gender Empowerment Indices




Gender Development Index (GDI) –1998

Gender Empowerment Index (GEM) –1998

Sri Lanka

0.69

0.31

All Developing Countries

0.56

0.37

Industrial Countries

0.86

0.59

World

0.64

0.42

Source: Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1995/96, Dept of Census & Statistics.

National Human Development Report 1998, UNDP.


What these figures suggest is that the gender dimension of poverty is less one of incomes

and consumption (except in the conflict zones), and is instead more closely related to strong regional and national differences in gender empowerment. Information is needed on intra-family distribution of incomes and consumption before one can conclude that women are not subject to more hardship than men. What is clear, however, is that in comparison to many other Asian states, the average gender dimension of consumption poverty is less acute.


Marginalised and Socially Excluded Poor. There are a number of hardcore, or marginalised and socially excluded people, among the poor. Marginalised communities include persons internally displaced by the conflict, those in village expansion colonies, irrigation colonies, the homeless in the urban slums and those living in geographically remote and isolated areas like interior of jungles and mountaintops. Geographically remote and isolated regions typically lack road access, communication and electricity facilities. Often, at least 75% of the population in these “regional pockets of poverty” fall below the poverty line. Marginalised individuals in village expansion and irrigation colonies are usually new settlers relocated from their traditional habitats. Their social ties in the communities have been severed and they lack the networks and social capital so important for buffering households from risks. In the urban areas, the socially excluded individuals may have no fixed abode and are generally excluded from participation in government welfare programs.
Poverty in North-Eastern Province. Poverty in the Northeastern Province is experienced in dimensions quite different than that in other parts of the nation. Loss of civilian life, physical and psychological trauma, the horror of forced displacement, the disintegration of community social networks, forcible recruitment into terrorist organizations, constant fear and uncertainty, and prolonged dependence on relief are all facets of impoverishment in the North-East. There has been a significant deterioration in the general economic, social and physical conditions of the North-Eastern province over the past two decades. The contribution of the North Eastern Province to national GDP has fallen from 15 percent in the 1980s to as little as 4 percent in 1997. There has also been extensive damage to private and public property. Educational attainments have sharply declined, school drop-out rates are substantially higher than in other parts of the country and the prevalence of malnutrition is very high. Qualitative reports suggest that the income poverty, healthcare, education and economic conditions are far worse in areas wracked by the civil conflict than in the other parts of the nation.
Based on very limited sources of information, we estimate that the incidence of consumption poverty in this Province is likely to range between 25% to 55% of those still residing in the North-Eastern Province. The lower incidence estimate is consistent with the preliminary findings from the World Bank’s integrated survey, which show that consumption poverty in the cleared areas of the Northeast is about the same as it is for the country as a whole (i.e. 25%). The lower value reflects the fact that these regions had a rather lower level of poverty prior to the ethnic conflict. It also suggests that private and public transfers to those residing in the war-torn regions have been sufficient to keep most people out of extreme poverty. The upper value is a worst-case assumption that poverty incidence is as high in the Northeast as it is in the poorest Province (Uva) of the country for which actual survey data exists.
Approximately two million persons are estimated to currently reside in the North-eastern Province 11. This implies that the number of poor households in the Northeast ranges from 500,000 to 1.1 million persons. Since some 170,000 households are currently estimated to be internally displaced by the war in welfare centers, actual poverty estimates are likely to be closer to the higher than the lower headcount measure12. Assuming that consumption poverty levels are at the higher range, this implies that about one-quarter of the nation’s poor are to be found in the North-Eastern Province.

Human suffering and displacement arising from the civil conflict are considerable. In the last 17 years, it is estimated that 60,000 lives have been lost, while a large number of persons have been incapacitated or injured. The vast majority of the civilians residing in the Northeast have been displaced by the conflict. In Jaffna, almost 50 percent of the population (some 350,000 out of a population of 750,000) have become displaced, and a considerable number have migrated to other countries. Large numbers of households have been displaced in other districts as well. In Ampara district, over 40% of the 148,000 families were affected by the conflict; in Batticaloa district about three-quarters of the 120,000 families were displaced; in Trincomalee district, 70 percent of the 80,400 families were displaced, In Mannar district, 95% of the 25,000 families were displaced and in Vavuniya district, 84% of the district’s 35,800 families were displaced. Dislocation has contributed to a loss of livelihood, severe stress and the breakdown of families and communities. Many of those who were not displaced or resettled have also been pushed down below the poverty line as their economic activities have been affected by the conflict. Transport and security restrictions have periodically disrupted the marketing of commercial agricultural products and fisheries---two key sources of income in the rural parts of the Province13.


People living in the camps are the most vulnerable in the Northeast, as they are likely to suffer from high levels of malnutrition and stunted growth. Many children are traumatized after living in camps for years, with over-crowding, inadequate shelter, water and food, sanitation, and little access to health and educational services. The more vulnerable groups also include families headed by widows, families with disabled members, orphans and families with members suffering from psychological trauma.


2.2 The Causes and Effects of Poverty

Reasons for poverty vary. Various technical reports list the following as the reasons for their poverty: (i) lack of assets, especially land, (ii) imperfect property rights and miniature holding sizes, (iii) shortfalls in access to water, particularly in the non-irrigation areas of the dry zone, (iv) weak institutional arrangements and practices, especially with regard to land tenure, (v) non-competitive product markets for farm produce, (vi) limited technology adoption and utilisation in rural industries, (vii) poor production standards and low product quality in rural industries, (viii) high capital costs, (ix) raw material and resource bottlenecks, (x) limited access to production and marketing information, (xi) shortfalls in physical infrastructure, such as inadequate power, energy, and communications, (xii) the absence of high mobility roads and a transport network linking villages, towns, and cities14.


Economic Characteristics of the Poor. Households in which the main income receiver is a ‘casual and contractual employee’ are most likely to be poor (48% of the total numbers of the poor). The next most likely households to be poor are those whose main income receiver is self-employed (29%). Only 22% of the households in which the main income receiver is unemployed are poor. As in other developing nations, unemployment is a luxury that the poor can ill afford.



Table 2.7: Consumption Poverty Levels by Occupation of Principal Income Earner, 1995/96

Employment status of main income receiver

Incidence of Poverty




Lower %

Higher %

Professional

5

12

Managerial

4

7

Clerical

7

15

Sales Workers

17

30

Service Workers

17

32

Farmers

35

52

Production Workers

30

45

Unidentified

18

29

Unemployed/ Labour force Non-particiapants

18

29

Source: Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1995/96, Dept of Census & Statistics.



About 42 percent of the poor are small farmers. Since close to 65 percent of all farmers cultivate plots of land smaller than 1 acre, those small farmers who have no other source of off-farm income are frequently classified as poor. Outside of agriculture, the poor occupy a wide range of low-skill jobs, including:



(i) Workers and self-employed individuals living in remote, isolated areas: Semi-subsistence agriculture is the dominant source of employment in these regions with most activity limited to the small, local village.

(ii) Casual labourers in mining and quarrying, construction, agriculture, petty trades and informal sector work. These occupations have low wage rates and irregular employment. A combination of low wages and the intermittent availability of work has kept poverty levels high among these groups of workers.

(iii) Workers employed in coastal fisheries. The fisheries industry has been adversely affected by the civil conflict in the North-Eastern province. In other parts of the country, a high proportion of coastal fisherman do not own their own boats, nets or fishponds, and work for low daily wages and catch shares.

(iv) Workers employed in small, cottage industries. These are often low productivity activities using quite simple technology. Low productivity and low wages are common in the cottage industry sector

(v) Petty traders. These provide services to small, low-income markets. Business tends to be irregular, with sales occurring intermittently. Profit margins are thin, and family members supply most of the labour.

(vi) Craftspersons. Construction demand is highly cyclical. These workers fall into poverty during periods in which construction demand declines.
Educational attainment and health status of the households could be a cause as well as an effect of poverty. Lower educational attainment may make a person poor due to adverse labour market prospects, and poverty itself may result in lower educational attainment and lesser employment prospects. Likewise, poor health may drag a person to poverty due to loss of livelihood, and poverty itself may cause illness and loss of livelihood. Thus, those who are less educated and less healthy may get trapped in a vicious circle of poverty.

Education. Education assists individuals to rise out of poverty. Education has a strong positive impact on earnings, and poverty levels decline as the schooling attainment of household heads and principal income earners rise. High earnings premia and positive rates of return to education are experienced at the GCE O/L and university degree levels.

There is a close inverse correlation between higher levels of educational attainment and poverty. The poor are usually illiterate or educated up to just a primary or junior secondary level (Diagram 2.6). The ability of poor children to exploit educational opportunities and improve labor market prospects is constrained by several factors. These include attending schools with:




  • poorly trained, unmotivated teachers and school principals




  • inadequate physical facilities, such as classrooms, library space, workshops, offices, teacher’s quarters, and shortages of school furniture, desks, chairs and blackboards




  • inadequate quality inputs, in the form of library materials, laboratory equipment, information and communications equipment, and implements for technical subjects




  • shortfalls in basic services, like power, water supply and proper sanitation facilities


Source: Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1995/96, Dept of Census & Statistics.

Vocational training and technical education assists individuals to increase earnings and emerge out of poverty. However, vocational training institutions experience shortages of well-qualified and capable instructors, and relevant, up-to-date equipment and material, to offer high quality courses. The geographical distribution of vocational training institutions, which are concentrated in urban areas, often precludes the rural poor from accessing training opportunities.
Although Sri Lanka has a universal free education system, the quality of education is mixed. The average level of literacy, numeracy and life skills acquired by primary school graduates is rather low. Only about 25% of primary school graduates attain adequate levels of literacy. Less than 20% achieve satisfactory levels of numeracy. Academic attainment levels in the life sciences area is similarly low, especially in health, elementary biology and environment science. As a result, most of the poor have a primary school education, but it is not a terribly high-quality one. This, unto itself, often precludes entry to secondary and post-secondary training for the poor. Nationwide, only 26% of those students who appeared for the G.C.E. O-Level examinations and 48% of those who appeared for the G.C.E. A-level examinations passed in 1996. There is a positive correlation between educational level and incomes (Diagram 2.7).


Source: Aturupane, Harsha, (1998), Education and Poverty in Sri Lanka.


Health. There is widespread access to basic healthcare in Sri Lanka and the maternal and child health care clinics have performed extremely well in mounting immunization campaigns and educating the public regarding safe childbirth and appropriate treatment for infectious disease. Infant, child, and maternal mortality rates are low, and life expectancy is nearing the levels reached in developed countries.
However, a considerable proportion of the population suffers from wasting, stunting, low-weight, iron deficiency anemia and other micronutrient deficiencies. Recent research studies from the Medical Research Institute suggest that about one-third of small (under five years of age) children are underweight, nearly one-fifth were stunted or had inadequate height for age and about 14% of children were wasted or had inadequate weight for height.
The prevalence of under-nutrition is likely to be particularly high among poor families. A national survey in 1993 found that 45% of children under 6 were anemic, 18% had low birth weight and 36% had vitamin A deficiency (Table 2.8). There appears to be little relationship between consumption poverty and the incidence of child malnutrition. It is important to note that the proportion of children under-nourished in rural areas is far higher than in urban areas. Children’s nutrition level rises rapidly with the mothers’ level of education. Moreover, more than half (53%) of the estate children fell into the category of low height-for-age as compared to 20% for Colombo15.
Table 2.8: Provincial Variations in Child Malnutrition

Province

Anemia among children under 5 years (a)

Percentages



Low Birth Weight (b)

Percentages



Vitamin A deficiency (c)

Percentages



Western

47

17

24

Central

36

18

22

Southern

48

20

42

North Western

57

19

46

North Central

55

16

57

Uva

36

16

35

Sabaragamuwa

43

18

51

Sri Lanka

45

18

36

Source: (a) Mudalige, R and Nestle, P (1996) Prevelance of Anemia in Sri Lanka, Ceylon Journal of Medical Science, (b) Nutrition and Health Status of Children (1993), Nutrition and Poverty Policy Division, Ministry of Policy Planning and Implementation and (c) Medical Research Institute (1998), Vitamin A Deficiency: Status of Children, Sri Lanka 1995.


1 Note that the Department of Census and Statistics assesses poverty using a larger Household Income and Expenditure survey. A different set of poverty lines (at Rs.791 and Rs.950) are calculated using this data because of differences in sample size, commodity coverage and the assumed share of non-food spending in total expenditures. In this chapter, reference is made to findings drawn from both data sources, but the reader should bear in mind that the data sources are not strictly comparable.

2 The headcount refers to the share of the population who report total expenditures less than the poverty line.

3 The poverty gap is the percentage difference between the average expenditures of the poor household group and the poverty line. The larger the gap, the lower is the mean consumption level of the “average poor household” relative to the poverty line.

4 This is the Foster-Thorbecke-Greer poverty index. The severity index is a measure of the squared poverty gap. It assigns more weight to those households whose incomes are far below the poverty line and satisfies A.K. Sen’s transfer axiom which states that an income transfer from a poor household to an even poorer household should be reflected in an improvement in the overall measure of income (or consumption) poverty. The higher the severity index, the greater the number of very poor households in the poor group.


5 UNDP, 1998:32. According to the Department of Census and Statistics, the proportion of population lacking safe drinking water is 32% and that lacking safe sanitation facilities is 37% in 1994 (Table 2.2). The discrepancies may be due to differences in definitions used.

6 Silva, Kalinga Tudor, 1998, Sociological Perspectives Relating to Selected Aspects of Poverty in Sri Lanka, Technical Report prepared for Ministry of Finance and Planning, Colombo, December 1998.


7 With an extended family system, the notion of male and female-headed households may not be entirely relevant as a way of measuring the welfare of women.

8 When GDI reaches 100% Gender parity is achieved

9 GDI is computed differentiated by gender using the same variables as the human development index. For definition of GDI see National Human Development Report, UNDP, 1998: 42

10 For definition of GEM using earned income share, participation in parliament, administrators and managers, professional and technical workers. For the formula weighting, see National Human Development Report, UNDP, 1998: 47.

11 Ministries responsible for reconstruction in the North and East estimate that the population of the North-Eastern Province range from 1.8 to 2.2 million persons.

12 Estimates of the numbers of households displaced range from 160,000 to 220,000.

13 Asian Development Bank/GTZ (2000), draft Reconnaissance Mission for Emergency Assistance for Rehabilitation of North/East, May , 2000 and National Planning Department.

14 See Annex 1, Technical Reports prepared for the External Resources Department, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Colombo, 1998 to 2000.


15 Per capita consumption of alcohol and tobacco is much higher in the estate sector, suggesting that the share of household income allocated for basic child-rearing requirements may be somewhat less than in other (non-estate) low-income households.





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