New Delhi: Rejecting the new poverty line cap as "atrocious", NAC member and activist Aruna Roy on Friday demanded that Planning Commission chief Montek Singh Ahluwalia give an explanation on the issue failing which he should resign.
She said more discussions on the issue are needed and the calculations should be revised "rationally" with proper participatory discussion.
"We are asking for an explanation. If there is an explanation why should Mr Ahluwalia resign? If he is not able to explain this to us, then he should resign. We are tired of asking for a revision and it has come out of everyone's anger (on this issue)," Roy told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
"We want to know what are the grounds for arriving at this (norms). We want a discussion on it," she said.
She was responding to a Planning Commission calculation that if a person's spending exceeds Rs 32 a day in an urban area or a villager purchases goods worth more than Rs 26, then he cannot be counted as poor.
Roy and another member Harsh Mander had on Thursday asked Ahluwalia to either withdraw the affidavit on the new poverty line norms from the Supreme Court or quit.
"It is really atrocious that in this country with the level of price rise and the recent petrol hike which affects every commodity. It (the amount suggested) is a pittance," she said.
The main issue is bringing down the BPL level to so low. We are going to reduce the number of people who will get benefited and all the right-based laws you are enacting will be infructuous," she said.
Roy said the real concern is the level of poverty which the country faces today.
"If we bring the BPL level so down, large chunks of very needy Indians would be left out. It should be revised and rationally done and with proper participatory discussion," she said.
Asked whether she would raise the issue at the NAC meeting, Roy indicated she would do so when the council meets.
On the Commission's contention that the norms would not affect the poor, Roy asked how can it not affect.
"Why the Government and Planning Commission should be so interested in BPL categorisation today because it is the bottomline for including or excluding people," she said.
Asked about Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh questioning the current methodology, Roy said if there are internal divisions within the government, then it is mandatory for them to discuss and come to a conclusion.
"Planning Commission must listen to Ministry of Rural Development and should give equal weightage to the contentions of the ministry. They should discuss and come to a conclusion," she said.
Asked whether she would insist on Ahluwalia's resignation, Roy said, "I am not going to discuss personalities. I have an issue with the Planning Commission. He is the face of the Planning Commission."
First Published: Friday, September 30, 2011, 22:24