Poverty decline rate doubled during UPA regime: Montek
Hyderabad: Terming the comments on the below poverty line (BPL) issue as "unprincipled publicity campaign", Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia Saturday said the rate of poverty decline doubled during the rule of the UPA Government as compared to the pre-UPA regime.
"In the pre-UPA period the decline in poverty was taking place at 0.74 percent per year. After 2004 it is taking place at 1.5 percent. So, the decline in poverty during UPA period is double," he added
As per the data released by the Planning Commission, the rate of poverty reduction between 2004-05 to 2009-10 was 1.5 percent every year whereas it stood at an annual rate of 0.74 percent between 1993-94 to 2004-05.
"All this criticism that the government is artificially reducing the people below the poverty line is just rubbish. Poverty has gone down from 37.2 percent of the population in 2004 to slightly less than 30 in 2009-10," Ahluwalia said.
He refuted remarks that the Government could be trying to keep major chunk of public from some benefits by showing reduction in poverty line.
"This is not true. Many benefits are not linked to poverty line. The most important benefit is Right to Education Act which is not linked to poverty line".
"The next most important is NREGA scheme. This is not limited to poverty line below. Third is food security bill.
That is not limited to poverty line. As much as 46 percent of the country’s people will benefit from this," he explained.
According to him, Planning Commission does not use daily income figures as basis for calculating BPL people. It takes per-family-per-month figures to calculate the figures.
"There is a motivated desire to denigrate economic growth to say that economic growth is not inclusive. There is no evidence for that...," Ahluwalia said.
Replying to a query, he said a new technical committee will be appointed soon to assess poverty line issues.
"We are working on the terms of reference. It will be a technical experts committee. That will go into all these issue of poverty line. Broad scope is to take look at the different criticism that have been made and also the fact the Prime Minister said there should be multi dimensional measure of poverty," he said.
As Tendulkar poverty line is no longer linked to benefits, there is a need for another definition of poverty line and from the 12th Plan onwards, data for 2011-12 will be used to measure progress, he said.