Poverty line jumps Rs 79 in June
By Mario Andree
The minimum expenditure per person per month to fulfill basic needs, increased for the second consecutive month in June with the index rising Rs 79 to Rs 5,312 from Rs 5,233 recorded during the previous month of this year.
The Department of Census and Statistics highlighted that 60 per cent of the Districts remained in poverty for the 66th consecutive month as of May this year, while 36 per cent were above the national poverty line of Rs 5,312. According to the Department, 15 Districts recorded a ‘minimum expenditure per person per month to fulfill the basic needs’ below Rs 5,312, while nine were above it and one hanging on.
The Department of Statistics pointed out that Ratnapura, Moneragala, Badulla, Anuradhapura, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Trincomalee, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar, Jaffna, Galle, Matara and Hambantota had reported ‘minimum expenditure per person per month to fulfil basic needs’ as being below Rs 5,312. Moneragala continued to be the poorest District with ‘minimum expenditure per person per month to fulfil the basic needs recorded at Rs 5,001, while Colombo remained the richest with Rs 5,766.
In addition, Colombo, Kalutara, Gampaha, Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa and Kegalle were above the national poverty line, while Ampara hung on the edge with Rs 5,312. Sri Lanka’s poverty headcount has reduced to 4.1 per cent in 2016 from 6.7 per cent in 2012 according to the State statistics office, which highlighted an increase of 35.6 per cent in the country’s mean household income per month in 2016.
The now controlled COVID-19 pandemic is expected to worsen Sri Lanka’s poverty as many day earners and blue collar employees face job losses.