India now is ahead of only Sub-Saharan Africa among developing countries in terms of the percentage of population below the poverty line, though it fared better than China on this count in 1990, according to the World Bank.
The multilateral lender, in its recently released report 'Global Economic Prospects for 2009', said a quarter of India's population will be living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.25 a day, in 2015.
The corresponding figures for China is 6.1 per cent and for Sub-Saharan Africa 37.1 per cent. These are based on purchasing power parity exchange rates derived from the 2005 price surveys, meaning that the calculations have been made assuming a dollar's purchasing power to be the same in the years under consideration as in 2005.
According to the World Bank's poverty forecast, China had 60.2 per cent of its population living on less than $1.25 a day in 1990, compared to India's 51.3 per cent.
However, 15 years later in 2005, China had 15.9 per cent of its population living in extreme poverty as compared to India's 41.6 per cent living on less than $1.25 a day, the international poverty line.
"Much of decline in global poverty between 1990 and 2005 results from increased incomes in China, where the level of extreme poverty fell from over 60 per cent in 1990 to less than 16 per cent in 2005," the report said.