Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Amidst the ongoing controversy over the Planning Commission figures of poverty reduction, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Saturday recommended that malnourishment and anaemia could be fixed as criteria for measuring poverty.
On microblogging website Twitter, Singh wrote on Saturday that he has always "failed to understand the Planning Commission criteria for fixing Poverty Line...It is too abstract can`t be same for all areas".
He added: "First indicator of Poverty is Malnourishment and Anaemia in the Family which is easily measurable. Can`t we have that as a criteria?"
On Friday, Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal had challenged the method used by the Planning Commission to calculate poverty, saying a family of five could not live on Rs 5,000 a month.
"If the Planning Commission said those who live above Rs 5,000 a month are not at poverty line, obviously there is something wrong with the definition of poverty in this country. How can anybody live at Rs 5,000?" Sibal had questioned.
According to Planning Commission data, the percentage of people below poverty line declined sharply to 21.9 in the financial year 2011-12 from 37.2 recorded in 2004-05.
The decline was sharper in urban areas. In the financial year ended March 2012, percentage of people below poverty line in urban areas was 13.7 while in rural area it was 25.7, according to data released by the Planning Commission.
In 2011-12, India had 270 million persons below the poverty line as compared to 407 million in 2004-05, that is a reduction of 137 million persons over the seven-year period.