Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ridiculous definition of poverty

The definition given by Planning Commission is not only ridiculous but also non-sensical and politically motivated. The definition of poverty is based on Tendulkar Committee report, which was given in 2011. It had also created outrages among the public for making mockery of their poverty all over the nation at that time. The government had to shelve that report and form another committee under Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's economic advisor C Rangrajan to submit a report about the position of poverty in the country among all sections and grades of people. Rangrajan Committee is yet submit its report. The Planning Commission appears to have deliberately issued the misleading definition of poverty to create favourable atmosphere in the country for the ruling Congress-led UPA . This definition of poverty is nothing but non-sensical. It is fiercely criticized even by the Congress leaders and its minister. Amid mounting criticism of poverty reduction estimates by the Planning Commission, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has also joined Union minister Kapil Sibal in questioning the criteria for fixing poverty line. When the Congress leaders and Minister fail to understand the ridiculous definition of poverty by the planning commission, what to talk of the reaction of opposition leaders and common poor people of the nation over it. Planning Commission criteria for fixing poverty line is baffling. It is too abstract and can’t be same for all areas. Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has rightly challenged the method used by the Planning Commission to calculate poverty. He is rightly of view that a family of five cannot live on Rs 5,000 a month. The plan panel released the latest poverty estimates earlier this week for the country showing that the percentage of people below poverty line declined sharply to 21.9 in the financial year 2011-12 from 37.2 in 2004-05. It had said that for a family of five, the BPL cap in terms of expenditure would amount to Rs 4,080 per month in rural areas and Rs 5,000 per month in urban areas. Singh’s attack on Planning Commission has come a day after the Congress distanced itself from the remarks by two of its leaders that one could have meals at Rs 5 and Rs 12 which have been ridiculed by several parties. The meal remarks made by Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar and another party leader Rasheed Masood have rightly been dubbed absurd, foolish and illogical by opposition parties and poor people of the nation. The remarks of these two senior Congress leaders have created huge embarrassment for the party, though it has dissociated itself from these two party leaders.’ remarks It has put the Congress on the defensive. NCP leader and Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel had also said that the plan panel estimates are based on totally wrong benchmark of per capita daily expenditure. Congress Media Cell head Ajay Maken had, however, has claimed that under the Congress-led UPA, poverty has declined from 37.2 per cent in 2004-5 to 21.9 per cent - a decline from 40.71 crore to 26.93 crore people below the poverty line. He had also attacked BJP for criticizing the Rs 33.30 Poverty Line cap of the Planning Commission, saying the opposition party, “should explain why it was Rs 16.73 in 59th NSSO survey of 2003 and accepted by BJP/NDA Govt?. Congress may be better than BJP so far as its government performance is concerned; this non-sensical definition of poverty has no taker in the country. It has also sent out the message among the general people that this Congress-led UPA-II is adopting any falsehood to cover its all round failures.

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