Fraudulent Poverty Estimates of The Planning Commission
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Date: 20 March 2012
The Polit Bureau of the CPI (M) condemns the efforts of the Planning Commission to use fraudulent methods to deliberately underestimate the level of poverty in the country. In spite of the national outrage when the Planning Commission had given its earlier estimates to the Supreme Court, it has retained the same poverty measure suggested by the Tendulkar Committee. This has meant an absurdly low national poverty line of Rs. 22.40 per day for an adult in rural areas and Rs. 28.65 per day for an adult in urban areas, in 2009-10. Anyone spending more that this is being categorized as non-poor. On the basis of these flawed figures, the Planning Commission claims that the proportion of BPL persons has gone down by 7 per cent between 2004-05 to 2009-10.
This shows the huge gap between the members of the Planning Commission and the reality lived by crores of people in this country who have been burdened by relentless price rise amidst meager incomes. It hardly needs to be stated that these are destitution lines and it is a shame that an institution chaired by the Prime Minister should produce such absurd figures.
What is shocking is that even with these gross under-estimates, large proportions of our population are shown to continue living in destitution. The proportion ranges from 37-39% in states like Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha to around 50% in Bihar and Chattisgarh. Shockingly, the North Eastern states of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland are showing an increase in destitution levels. This calls the bluff of “inclusive growth” under the UPA government.
Even the recently released Household Amenities and Assets Census of 2011 shows the extent of poverty in different spheres in India. Out of the 24.6 crore households in India only 29% have a house with concrete roof, only 32% have access to tapped drinking water and only 47% have a latrine facility within the premises. 49.8% of the households still have to defecate in the open; 49% of the households still use firewood as the fuel for cooking and another 17% use cowdung cake or crop residue. 39% of households do not have any kitchen.
The CPI (M) considers the Planning Commission’s poverty estimates to be a dishonest attempt to conceal the reality of glaring inequalities and increasing poverty in India. The CPI (M) demands that the Prime Minister should make a categorical statement that these fraudulent poverty measures will not be used to deny poor people of their right to BPL cards or be used as a benchmark for allocating funds to the states or for welfare programmes.
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