Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Adding to the poverty figure debate that has enraged the common man, two Congress leaders have now claimed that they can have proper meal at unthinkable costs and that too in two metropolitan cities.
On Wednesday, Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar had said it was possible to have "full meal at Rs 12 in Mumbai" even today. "No no not vada paav. So much of rice, daal saambhar and with that some vegetables are also mixed."
Even though his "laughable" remark drew sharp reaction from the BJP, another Congress leader on Thursday claimed that Rs 5 in Delhi is sufficient for a hearty meal.
"You can eat a meal in Delhi in Rs 5, I don`t know about Mumbai. You can get a meal for Rs 5 near Jama Masjid," Rasheed Masood said.
The comments can be seen as part of the Congress` efforts to defend a report by the Planning Commission which said poverty has declined by 22 percent since the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Planning Commission figures of poverty reduction in India have triggered a furore with the BJP and the CPI-M accusing the government of ignoring reality. Congress ally NCP also expressed its reservations.
The Congress, however, said that poverty had come down in the country due to the pro-poor policies of the UPA government.
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said Planning Commission figures of poverty reduction were a conspiracy against the poor, designed to deprive them of welfare schemes.
He asked the Congress to demonstrate how one can live on an income of Rs 34 a day.
The Planning Commission on Tuesday showed that the percentage of people below poverty line declined sharply to 21.9 in the 2011-12 financial year from 37.2 recorded in 2004-05.
The national poverty line, by using the Tendulkar methodology, has been estimated at Rs 816 per capita per month in villages and Rs 1,000 per capita per month in cities.
This means that people whose daily consumption of goods and services exceed worth Rs 33.33 in cities and Rs 27.20 in villages did not fall in the poverty category.
(With Agency inputs)