Montek needs to explain or resign: Aruna Roy

Aruna Roy
New Delhi, Sep 30: Rejecting the new poverty line cap as "atrocious", NAC member and activist Aruna Roy today demanded that Planning Commission chief Montek Singh Ahluwalia give an explanation on the issue failing which he should resign.

She said more discussions on the issue are needed and the calculations should be revised "rationally" with proper participatory discussion.

"We are asking for an explanation. If there is an explanation why should Mr Ahluwalia resign? If he is not able to explain this to us, then he should resign. We are tired of asking for a revision and it has come out of everyone's anger (on this issue)," Roy told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

"We want to know what are the grounds for arriving at this (norms). We want a discussion on it," she said.

She was responding to a Planning Commission calculation that if a person''s spending exceeds Rs 32 a day in an urban area or a villager purchases goods worth more than Rs 26, then he cannot be counted as poor.

Roy and another member Harsh Mander had yesterday asked Ahluwalia to either withdraw the affidavit on the new poverty line norms from the Supreme Court or quit.

"It is really atrocious that in this country with the level of price rise and the recent petrol hike which affects every commodity. It (the amount suggested) is a pittance," she said.

"The main issue is bringing down the BPL level to so low. We are going to reduce the number of people who will get benefited and all the right-based laws you are enacting will be infructuous," she said.

Roy said the real concern is the level of poverty which the country faces today. "If we bring the BPL level so down, large chunks of very needy Indians would be left out. It should be revised and rationally done and with proper participatory discussion," she said.


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