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Discrepancy in data led to low poverty line: Montek

Facing flak over latest poverty numbers, the Planning Commission Tuesday admitted that there is serious discrepancy in NSSO data and national accounts which led to pegging poverty line at Rs 28.65 per capita daily consumption in cities.



New Delhi: Facing flak over latest poverty numbers, the Planning Commission Tuesday admitted that there is serious discrepancy in NSSO data and national accounts which led to pegging poverty line at Rs 28.65 per capita daily consumption in cities.

"I do believe that the discrepancy between the consumer survey and national accounts, is a serious statistical problem," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said while answering questions on the quality of NSSO data.

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).

As per the estimates the poverty ratio has been 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 Commission's estimates faced criticism in Parliament for its description of poor and resultant fall in people below the poverty line.

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

Elaborating further the data discrepancies Ahluwalia said, "In all countries consumer surveys give somewhat lower estimate than the national accounts. Normally, the consumer survey estimate is about 80 percent of the National Accounts. This used to be the case in India in 1980's.

"Over a period of time the discrepancy is constantly widening...but there is huge discrepancy in the consumption survey and information we have in the national accounts," he added.

Ahluwalia informed, "The next official poverty line will be for 2011-12 and we will share it in 2013."

Lauding the performance of various social sector schemes being run by the UPA during the last seven years, he said, "The fact is that in UPA period, the rate of poverty decline is twice as compared to the decline in previous 11 years."

"In the period 2004-05 to 2009-10, the rate at which the poverty has declined is doubled as compared to rate in the previous 11 years," Ahluwalia said adding that this suggests that the social sector programmes of the government are working.

As per the data, the rate of poverty reduction between 2004-05 to 2009-10 was 1.5 percent every year whereas it was 0.7 percent between 1993-94 to 2004-05.

When asked whether the government has failed to achieve the inclusive growth, he said, "We have not failed."

On the use of this poverty line, Ahluwalia said, "This will be used to gauge the impact of social sector programmes over a period of time. But this will not be used for giving subsidies like food target groups."

The Commission has planned to reduce the poverty at the rate of two percentage points every year in the 12th Five Year Plan beginning next month.

Elaborating further the data discrepancies Ahluwalia said, "In all countries consumer surveys give somewhat lower estimate than the national accounts. Normally, the consumer survey estimate is about 80 percent of the National Accounts. This used to be the case in India in 1980's.

"Over a period of time the discrepancy is constantly widening...but there is huge discrepancy in the consumption survey and information we have in the national accounts," he added.

Ahluwalia informed, "The next official poverty line will be for 2011-12 and we will share it in 2013."

Lauding the performance of various social sector schemes being run by the UPA during the last seven years, he said, "The fact is that in UPA period, the rate of poverty decline is twice as compared to the decline in previous 11 years."

"In the period 2004-05 to 2009-10, the rate at which the poverty has declined is doubled as compared to rate in the previous 11 years," Ahluwalia said adding that this suggests that the social sector programmes of the government are working.

As per the data, the rate of poverty reduction between 2004-05 to 2009-10 was 1.5 percent every year whereas it was 0.7 percent between 1993-94 to 2004-05.

When asked whether the government has failed to achieve the inclusive growth, he said, "We have not failed."

On the use of this poverty line, Ahluwalia said, "This will be used to gauge the impact of social sector programmes over a period of time. But this will not be used for giving subsidies like food target groups."

The Commission has planned to reduce the poverty at the rate of two percentage points every year in the 12th Five Year Plan beginning next month.

PTI

From Zee News

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