Ahemdabad: On one hand the Gujarat government boasts of rapid development in the state and claims to be development oriented, while on the other, this ‘race for development’ is adding to the number of poor people in the state. According to a socio-economic survey, the number of families falling under ‘Below Poverty Line’ has increased by 200% in 13 years.
The city is a mix of urban and rural families. But the survey indicates that the number of families under BPL has increased over the years.
There were 78,722 such families in the year 2000, which jumped drastically to 2,43,162 in 2013, indicating a rise of 200%, said the survey.
The figures have raised several questions on the development of the state, which is different from development and growth of citizens.
Elaborating on it, one of the officials of urban community development of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), requesting anonymity, said, “We have carried out door-to-door surveys in the city and have identified these families based on their family income. The total number of such families was 2.22 lakh in 2011.”
Replying to a query, an official of the BPL cell said that many areas have been included in AMC limits over the years, which has led to increase in the numbers.
“In all, 19 nagarpalikas and 30 gram panchayats have been included in AMC limits after year 2000, which will obviously increase the figures,” said the official. However, this reason cannot be held completely true, as around 50,000 families have been added to the list due to extension of city limits.
Giving his reasons for the increase in poor, social activist and secretary of All India Congress Committee, Dipak Babaria said, “The policies and decisions taken by the state government do not care for the basic requirements of the poor. Today, education, transport and basic livelihood are highly unaffordable and affect people’s budget. This then leads to malnutrition, illiteracy and unemployment.”
He also said that at present there is lack of sensitivity towards these people and the state government has failed to meet their basic needs.
Presenting a different opinion, municipal commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra said, “Over the years, the population of the city has increased tremendously. Also, there are chances that many families have been falsely included in the list and the genuine ones left out.”
Mohapatra further said that in rural areas, there is a provision to edit the list and include the genuine ones or remove the wrongly included families. But in urban areas, there is no such provision. “Talks are on with the state government and Government of India in this regard,” added Mohapatra.