NEW DELHI: As promised, Montek Singh Ahluwalia has come out with an explanation on the â€™32 issueâ€™. 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? Weâ€™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 â€“ though we are not trying to argue that it is an adequate life for anybody. It is a pure basics approach.
Hereâ€™s how it could work, and the assumption are that â€œfreeâ€ municipal schools and hospitals are used by the people just near or above the poverty line.
A family of sixâ€”five members and possibly a rural relative whoâ€™s just arrivedâ€”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 â€“ 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.