Rs 32-a-day poverty line had Plan panel in controversy in 2011

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Dec 31: The Planning Commission was at the centre of a big controversy in 2011 after it adopted Rs 32-a-day poverty line, inviting sharp criticism from many quarters, even as the government grappled with slowdown and high inflation throughout the year.

NGOs, commentators and the common man all alike criticised the Plan panel's description of the poor.

Irked by the Plan panel's definition of poverty, N C Saxena, a member of the National Advisory Council (NAC) had told PTI that "only cats and dogs can survive on Rs 32 a day".

Based on the recommendations of the Tendulkar Committee, the Planning Commission had set the poverty line at Rs 965 per capita per month in urban areas and Rs 781 per capita per month in rural areas.

The issue came to light after the Commission in its affidavit in the the Supreme Court, said, "At June 2011 price level, for a family of five, this provisional poverty line would amount to Rs 4,824 per month in urban areas and Rs 3,905 in rural area".

The Tendulkar Committee had expanded the definition of poverty to include expenditure on health and education besides calorie intake. The Planning Commission has already adopted the methodology to compute poverty.

The Plan panel itself did not provide per capita per day poverty line benchmark for urban and rural areas. But NGOs and other groups criticised the Commission for fixing such a poverty line.

It led to heated debates and there were several rounds of discussions between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for chalking out the strategy.


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