The much poor-ridiculing poverty figure debate is back once again. The common man must be reminded of how serious the government is for its suffering, when the two Congress leaders have claimed that they can buy a proper meal at unimaginable costs and that too in two urban cities.
First Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar had said on Wednesday that it one can have “full meal at Rs 12 in Mumbai” even today. He went on further elaborating his claim saying “No no not vada paav. So much of rice, daal saambhar and with that some vegetables are also mixed.”
As Raj Babbar’s remark drew sharp reaction from the opposition BJP terming it “laughable”, another Congress leader went even lower claiming that Rs 5 in Delhi is enough for a hearty meal.
“You can eat a meal in Delhi in Rs 5, I don’t know about Mumbai. You can get a meal for Rs 5 near Jama Masjid,” Rasheed Masood said.
All these comments are made by the Congress’ leaders in an effort to defend the Planning Commission report which said that poverty in India has declined by 22 percent since the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government came to power.
After the Planning Commission’s figures of poverty reduction in India were released, it has caused the opposition parties of BJP and the CPI-M to revolt against the figures accusing the government of ignoring reality and coming up with twisted numbers. Another part which is a Congress ally, NCP, also goes ahead and expresses its reservations regarding the report.
The concept of these poverty figures is important because based on these figures, government decide upon the subsidy to be extended to the people living Below Poverty Line. And the government has brought it to such low levels is to present the figures as one of its achievement in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls season of 2014. The Congress’ intent behind the claim is however to prove merit behind its pro-poor policies adopted during the UPA government’s tenure.
The Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar says that the Planning Commission figures of poverty reduction is part of a conspiracy against the poor in which Congress is looking forward to deprive them of welfare schemes through the new founded poverty benchmark.
He asked the Congress to demonstrate how can one live on an income of Rs 34 a day in today’s world.
The Planning Commission has showed in its report on Tuesday that the percentage of people living below poverty line has fallen sharply to 21.9% in the 2011-12 financial year from 37.2% recorded in 2004-05.
In what is said to be the national poverty line prepared with the help of Tendulkar methodology, the poverty line has been estimated to stand at Rs 816 per capita per month in villages and Rs 1,000 per capita per month in cities.
This in turn means that people whose daily consumption of goods and services go over Rs 33.33 in cities and Rs 27.20 in villages do not fall in the poverty category. At a time when the government is aware of suitably adjusting its circle rates to charge higher taxes from people buying and selling houses, how can it remain unaware of the present food inflation crisis within the country? The said national poverty line defining formula does not hold true even for the subsistence of a single person in the city let alone feeding and maintenance of his family within the prescribed limit.