South Asia comprises India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan and Afghanistan. With a population of approximately 1.4 billion it encompasses about two-thirds of the world's poor. One of the biggest challenges facing South Asia today is the issue of combating poverty. The purpose of this paper is to review the development record of South Asia and provide recommendations for the reduction of poverty in the future. However, Afghanistan is excluded from the study due to the non-availability of most data. Sri Lanka has been an outlier in relation to its South Asian counterparts with regard to its level of human development. Due to government commitment, many of Sri Lanka's human development indicators are comparable to those of more developed countries. Hence, special reference is given to Sri Lanka in this paper.
This book chapter was originally published as Coorey, A, An examination of poverty in South Asia with special reference to Sri Lanka, in Tisdell, C (ed), Poverty, Poverty Alleviation and Social Disadvantage, Analysis Case Studies and Policies, Serials Publications, New Delhi, 2007, 593-603.