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Official Poverty Line Shows 144% Increase in Minimum Expenditure for Basic Needs

The Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) has revealed a significant surge in the minimum expenditure required to fulfill basic needs, with a staggering 144% increase observed in January 2024 compared to 2019, according to the Official Poverty Line.

Shyamalie Karunaratne, Additional Director General (Statistics) of the Department, highlighted that in 2019, an individual needed only Rs. 6,966 per month to meet basic needs, whereas the current requirement stands at Rs. 17,014.

For a family of four, the expenditure needed to fulfill basic needs now totals Rs. 68,056, as per the Official Poverty Line calculated from statistics gathered in the Household Income and Expenditure survey.

Ms. Karunaratne attributed this increase over the past four years to a drastic rise in inflation, emphasizing the need for a significant drop in commodity prices to alleviate the burden reflected in the Official Poverty Line.

Analyzing the District Poverty Line, Colombo and Gampaha reported the highest figures of Rs. 18,350 and Rs. 18,256, respectively, while Ratnapura District recorded the lowest at Rs. 17,090.

Ms. Karunaratne emphasized the necessity for a considerable reduction in the prices of goods to effectively lower the Official Poverty Line and alleviate financial strain on households.

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