Sri Lanka’s official poverty line (OPL), meaning the minimum earnings needed by an individual in the country to be considered as being ‘non-poor’, i.e., needed to buy the bare necessities of life for a month, for the first time since the formulation of this index 20 years ago in 2002, broke the Rs 10,000 barrier in April 2022, Census and Statistics Department (CSD) data released on Tuesday (12) showed. In the previous month March, this figure was Rs 9,284. This value increased to Rs 10,230 in April 2022.
Meanwhile, the OPL, May over April furtherincreased by 9.67 per cent (Rs 989) to Rs 11,219, official data showed. In related developments, the OPL which was Rs 7,913 last year (2021), has, up to May 2022 increased by 41.78 per cent (Rs 3,306) to 11,219. That means, if a person earned or his living costs were less than Rs 11,219 in May 2022, he was considered as being poor.
According to the last official poverty survey, conducted by the CSD in 2019, it was found that 3.04 million of Sri Lanka’s population was poor. This accounted for 14.3 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population. The OPL in 2019 was Rs 6,966. It has since risen by 61.05 per cent (Rs 4,253) to Rs 11,219 by May 2022. The driver of the OPL is inflation, which has risen to a record high of nearly 100 per cent.
BY Paneetha Ameresekere