Plan panel to set up expert group to re-look at poverty numbers

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 22, 2012

Amid the demand for removal of its Deputy Chairman, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, for pegging the poverty line at Rs 28.65 daily per capita consumption for cities, the Planning Commission is likely to constitute an expert group to re-evaluate its claim that poverty has declined in India.

“The Commission is likely to shortly constitute an expert group for re-evaluating the poverty numbers and the methodology used to arrive at the number,” a source said.

According to the Commission’s estimates, the poverty ratio was pegged at 29.8 per cent in 2009-10, down from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05. These are based on the daily per capita consumption of Rs 28.65 in urban cities and Rs 22.42 in rural areas.

The Samajwadi Party chief, Mr Mulayam Singh, had sought removal of Mr Ahluwalia from the post of Deputy Chairman of the Commission for fixing the poverty line so low.

“The Prime Minister is responsible as he is the Chairman of the Commission. He should remove the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission from the post,” Mr Singh had said yesterday.

The Commission’s estimates faced criticism in Parliament for its description of poor and the resultant fall in people below the poverty line.

The Opposition parties, including BJP, blamed the Government for making a “dishonest” attempt to conceal the reality through “fraudulent” estimates.

However, Mr Ahluwalia had said that there is serious discrepancy in NSSO data and national accounts which led to pegging of such a low poverty line.

The Commission yesterday released poverty data based on the 66th round of the National Sample Survey (2009-10) data on household consumer expenditure survey. The national accounts, which provide data for national income, is prepared by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).

Published on March 22, 2012

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