New Delhi: The Planning Commission on Monday said poverty in India declined 7.3 percentage points to 29.8 percent of the population over five years to 2009-10.
Poverty in rural areas declined at a faster pace than in urban cities between 2004-05 and 2009-10, according to the Planning Commission estimates released on Monday.
The total number of poor in the country has been estimated at 34.47 crore in 2009-10, as against 40.72 crore in 2004-05.
"The all India head count (HCR) ratio has declined by 7.3 percentage points from 37.2 percent in 2004-05 to 29.8 percent in 2009-10, with rural poverty declining by 8 percentage points from 41.8 percent to 33.8 percent and urban poverty declining by 4.8 percentage point from 25.7 percent to 20.9 percent," said an official statement.
The sharp decline in poverty of over 10 percentage points was witnessed in Himchal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttarakhand.
The data revealed that the poverty has increased in North-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, the statement said.
Some of the bigger states, such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh have shown only marginal decline in poverty ratio, particularly in rural areas.

The Planning Commission's estimates of poverty are based on methodology recommended by the Tendulkar Committee, which includes spending on health and education, besides the calorie intake.
The data reveals that among religious groups, Sikhs have lowest poverty ratio in rural areas at 11.9 percent, whereas in urban areas, Christians have the lowest proportion of poor in the country at 12.9 percent.
In rural areas, poverty ratio for Muslims is very high in states such as Assam (53.6 percent), Uttar Pradesh (44.4 percent), West Bengal (34.4 percent) and Gujarat (31.4 percent).
In urban areas, poverty ratio at all India level is the highest for Muslims at 33.9 per cent. Similarly, for urban areas, the ratio is high for Muslims in states such as Rajasthan (29.5 percent), Uttar Pradesh (49.5 percent), Gujarat (42.4 percent), Bihar (56.5 percent) and West Bengal (34.9 percent).
Among social categories, Scheduled Tribes face the highest level of poverty at 47.4 percent, followed by Scheduled Castes at 42.3 percent and Other Backward Castes at 31.9 percent as against 33.8 percent for all classes in rural areas.
In urban areas, Scheduled Castes (SCs) have poverty ratio of 34.1 percent, followed by Scheduled Tribes (STs) at 30.4 percent and Other Backward Castes (OBCs) at 24.3 percent against 20.9 percent for all classes.
In rural Bihar and Chhattisgarh, nearly two-third of SCs and STs are poor, whereas in states such as Manipur, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh the poverty ratio for these groups is more than half.

Among the states, high incidence of poverty ratio is witnessed in Bihar at (53.5 percent) followed by Chhattisgarh (48.7 percent), Manipur (47.1 percent), Jharkhand (39.1) Assam (37.9 percent) and Uttar Pradesh (37.7 percent).
Among the various occupational groups, nearly 50 percent of agricultural labourers and 40 percent of other labourers are below the poverty line in rural areas, whereas in urban areas, the poverty ratio for casual labourers is 47.1 percent.
Those in regular wage or salaried employment have the lowest proportion of poor.
In the agriculturally prosperous state of Haryana, 55.9 percent agricultural labourers are poor, whereas in Punjab the number is 35.6 percent.
The poverty ration for casual labourers in urban areas is very high in Bihar (86 percent), Assam (89 percent), Orissa (58.8 percent), Punjab (56.3 percent, Uttar Pradesh (67.6 percent) and West Bengal (53.7 percent).
In rural areas, it is seen that households headed by minors have poverty ratio of 16.7 percent and households headed by female and senior citizen have poverty ratio of 29.4 percent and 30.3 percent respectively.
In urban areas, households headed by minors have poverty ratio of 15.7 percent and households headed by female and senior citizen have poverty ratio of 22.1 percent and 20.0 percent respectively against overall poverty ratio of 20.9 percent.
In rural areas, the households with ‘primary level and lower’ education have the highest poverty ratio, whereas the reverse is true for households with ‘secondary and higher’ education.
Nearly two-third households with ‘primary level and lower’ education in rural areas of Bihar and Chhattisgarh are poor, whereas it is 46.8 percent for Uttar Pradesh and 47.5 percent for Orissa. The trend is similar in urban areas.