05/04/2012, 00.00
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For World Bank, Nepal's is Asia's third poorest country

by Kalpit Parajuli
About 33.9 per cent of the population lives with less than US$ 1.25. Only Bangladesh and India are worse off, but the WB report does not consider the country's growing gap between rich and poor.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Nepal is South Asia's third poorest country, this according to a recent World Bank report, with 33.9 per cent of the population living under the extreme poverty line of US$ 1.25 per day.

In the 1990s, Nepal was at the bottom of the poverty ranking in South Asia, Nepali economist Bishombhar Pyakurel said.

With the fall of the Hindu monarchy and the establishment of a secular state, anti-poverty reforms followed.

Despite improvements, the "gap between rich and poor" is getting wider. In fact, India and Bangladesh are South Asia's worst performers partly because of this.

In Nepal, many people can barely feed themselves even if they make more than the living standard. Some 7 per cent of the population are worried about what they will eat at the end of the day.

Although South Asia has registered progress in the fight against extreme poverty, it is still home to the largest segment of the developing world's poor, some 571 million people who live on less than US$ 1.25.

Within the South Asia region, Bangladesh is the poorest country, with 46.6 per cent of its population living under .25 a day. India is second with 37.4 per cent.

Better than Nepal, there are Pakistan with 21 per cent, Bhutan 9.3 per cent and Sri Lanka with 5.6 per cent.

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