BPL at Rs 32: Montek’s clarification implies poverty line is irrelevant

BPL at Rs 32: Montek’s clarification implies poverty line is irrelevant

NEW DELHI: As promised, Montek Singh Ahluwalia has come out with an explanation on the ’32 issue’. To the question: Are those earning more than Rs 32 not poor? He basically said: It does not matter.

“The allegation is being made that the Planning Commission is trying to understate poverty. This is simply not true,” Ahluwalia told reporters at a joint press conference with Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh in Yojana Bhawan here.

He clarified that the Planning Commission had never said that benefits should be restricted to those below the poverty line.

“The Planning Commission has never taken the view that benefits should be restricted to those below this poverty line,” Ahluwalia said, adding that it had in fact supported the idea of widening the beneficiaries base for food allocation. The Planning Commission, he said, had always supported an approach based on many different economic factors, not just the poverty line.

They what is the poverty line for? We’ll ask Montek that some other time.

Meanwhile Firstpost has an interesting take on the issue, which you can read here. They also gave a breakdown of how one can survive on Rs 32 a day.

How to live on Rs 32 a day

Even in city like Mumbai, it is not impossible to live on Rs 32 a day – though we are not trying to argue that it is an adequate life for anybody. It is a pure basics approach.

Here’s how it could work, and the assumption are that “free” municipal schools and hospitals are used by the people just near or above the poverty line.

A family of six—five members and possibly a rural relative who’s just arrived—would, at Rs 32 per head per day, be earning close to Rs 6,000 a month. And this is how the arrangement would work out.

Rent for a one-room tenement in a slum: Rs 1,500-2,000

Electricity (one fan, two lights) and water: Rs 500

Single-time cooking for six people (2 meals and snack): Rs 2,000

Education extras (uniforms, shoes, books): Rs 300

Health extras – some medicine, occasional doctor: Rs 300

Transport: Rs 600

Miscellaneous expenses: Rs 500-800

Total monthly expenses: Rs 5,700-6,500 per month

With inputs from IANS

Our earlier report on the issue is here.

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