A 10-per cent spike in food prices could push 3 crore more people into "extreme poverty" in India, according to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report, Food Price Escalation in South Asia: A Serious and Growing Concern.
The warning comes on the back of data released by the Planning Commission yesterday showing that there had been a significant decline in poverty between 2004-2005 and 2009-2010.
In absolute terms, India had 35.5 crore poor people in 2009-10 as against 40.7 crore five years earlier and according to the Planning Commission data poverty across the country declined by 7.3 percentage points from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 29.8 per cent in 2009-10.
However, the the Planning Commission's decline was based on a poverty line that was even lower than the earlier Rs32 per day mark.
The report further pointed out that apart from India, a similar rise in food prices in Bangladesh could push 4 million Bangladeshis into extreme poverty.
India's wholesale price inflation, which had stayed high during most of 2011, was at 6.95 per cent in February, even as retail inflation touched 8.83 per cent in February due to higher prices of protein based items and edible oil products.