Kathmandu, November 24:

The 2005 SAARC regional poverty profile, which was made public today, has come up with a disaggregated analysis of poverty, inequality and human development in seven SAARC countries including Nepal.

The report outlines how a region like Kathmandu has very low level of poverty — a mere 3.3 per cent during 2003- 2004. One of the reasons for this is that “Kathmandu is a seat of the government, a rich area supported by tax payers’ money, fertile land, industry, trade, tourism and hub of services sector.” While the region has less than 5 per cent of the total population, it receives a large chunk of the national budget.

The report says that poverty is lower in the district headquarters in comparison to villages. District headquarters receive money from trade, services and industrial activism which adds to its affluence. It has also found out how poverty is apparently not affected by gender disparities. “Rather the opposite seems to be true when poverty level of male and female-headed household is compared.”

The report says that between the two living standard surveys conducted through 1995-1996 and 2003-2004 the population below poverty line decreased by 11 per cent (from 42 per cent in 1995-1996 to 31 per cent in 2003-2004). However, the decline of poverty was not uniform in various areas, segments and communities.

The report shows how population below poverty line in urban areas fell from 21.6 per cent in 1995-1996 to 9.6 per cent through 2003-2004.

The same period also saw a decline in poverty in rural areas from 43.3 per cent to 34.6 per cent. The report says that regions like the middle and western parts of the country need some extra effort to bring them into the national mainstream.

Concluding that poverty in Nepal is not declining in a uniform manner, the report says that poverty here has got to do with lack of education.