New Delhi, Jul 24: The UPA government on Tuesday claimed that there has been a reduction of 17 crores among the impoverished population.
The question is how: Well, the Planning Commission has fully changed the very definition of poverty.
For the Planning Commission, those earning Rs 27.20 a day in villages are supposed to be above the poverty line. Thus, a person earning Rs 816 a month is considered one who lives above the poverty level.
In urban areas, a person earning Rs 33 a day or Rs 1000 a month is considered above poverty level.
This is nothing but a joke against the poor, who live from hand to mouth daily.
A family of five spending Rs 4080 a month in villages and Rs 5000 in cities is considered above the poverty level, based on 2011-12 prices.
Two years ago in September 2010, the poverty line was Rs 26 a day for villages and Rs 32 a day for cities.
So, by raising the poverty line by a mere rupee a day, the Centre has "removed" poverty among 17 crore people.
Such statistics are a cruel joke on people who are battling every day in the face of skyrocketting prices of cereals, vegetables, milk, fruits, transport, etc.
Since September, 2011, the prices of essential commodities have jumped from 10 pc to 40 pc. In Delhi, atta sells for Rs 20 a kg, rice for Rs 28 a kg. For a minimum of 250 gm of atta or rice, one has to spend Rs 12 a day. For edible oil, potato, onions, vegetables, pulses, milk, tea, spices another Rs 30 has to be spent every day.
So a family having a frugal lunch has to spend Rs 42 a day. Much above the Planning Commission's poverty line parameters.
100 gm of pulse costs Rs 10, 100 gm of rice costs Rs 4, a cup of tea for Rs 5. So, a one-time frugal lunch will cost a minimum of Rs 10. Then imagine, the cost of a vegetable thali.
And now read, what the Planning Commission claims:
Poverty ratio in the country has declined to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12 from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 on account of increase in per capita consumption,
Planning Commission said.
In 2011-12 for rural areas, the national poverty line by using the Tendulkar methodology is estimated at Rs 816 per capita per month in villages and Rs
1,000 per capita per month in cities.
This would mean that the persons whose consumption of goods and services exceed Rs 33.33 in cities and Rs 27.20 per capita per day in villages are not poor.
The Commission said that for a family of five, the all India poverty line in terms of consumption expenditure would amount of Rs 4,080 per month in rural areas and Rs 5,000 per month in urban areas. The poverty line however will vary from state to state.
The percentage of persons below poverty line in 2011-12 has been estimated at 25.7 per cent in rural areas, 13.7 per cent in urban areas and 21.9 per cent for the country as a whole, a Commission's press statement said.
The percentage of persons below poverty line in 2004-05 was 41.8 per cent in rural areas, 25.7 per cent in cities and 37.2 per cent in the country as a whole.
In actual terms, there were 26.93 crore people below poverty line in 2011-12 as compared to 40.71 crore in 2004-05.
This ratio for 2011-12 is based on the methodology suggested by Suresh Tendulkar Committee which factors in money spent on health and education besides calorie intake to fix a poverty line.
The Commission said the decline in poverty is mainly on account of rising real per capita consumption figures which is based on 68th round of National Sample Survey on Household Consumer Expenditure in India in 2011-12.
Earlier, a committee was appointed under Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan to revisit the Tendulkar Committee methodology for tabulating poverty. The Committee is expected to submit its report by mid 2014.
State-wise, the Commission said the poverty ratio was highest in Chhattisgarh at 39.93 per cent followed by Jharkhand (36.96%), Manipur (36.89%), Arunachal Pradesh
(34.67%) and Bihar (33.47%).
Among the union territories, the Dadra and Nagar Haveli was the highest, with 39.31 per cent people living below poverty line followed by Chandigarh at 21.81 per cent.
Goa has the least percentage of people living below poverty line at 5.09 per cent followed by Kerala (7.05%), Himachal Pradesh (8.06%), Sikkim (8.19%), Punjab (8.26%) and Andhra Pradesh (9.20%).