Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday slammed the UPA government`s claim that the percentage of people below poverty line in India declined sharply to 21.9 in the financial year 2011-12 from 37.2 recorded in 2004-05.
BJP leader Balbir Punj alleged that the Congress has never eradicated poverty, but the poor. He also accused the Congress of playing a game of numbers ahead of the forthcoming General Elections.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar described the data released by the Planning Commission as a "conspiracy", adding that in order to show it has reduced poverty, the Congress is throwing people out of below poverty line.
Calling it as "absolutely unacceptable", Javadekar denounced the "anti-poor policy of the Congress."
"The latest report showing a reduction in the number of people below the poverty line is a conspiracy of the Congress against the poor to deprive them of the benefits of BPL schemes. This is the Congress mindset against the poor," Javadekar said.
He said these poverty figures do not reflect the price rise and is just a "political gimmick" to show more people are now out of poverty by lowering the benchmark.
"We challenge the Congress leaders to show how one can survive on Rs 34 per day... They want to show more people are rich by changing the definition," Javadekar said.
As per the government benchmark, a person earning over Rs 34 per day is above the poverty line.
The BJP sought to know that when the Rangrajan Committee, under the watch of the Supreme Court, is looking into the issue of poverty why did the government hasten to present these new figures.
"BJP denounces the anti-poor strategy of the Congress. With an earning of Rs 34 per day nobody comes out of poverty and the severity of poverty does not go," Javadekar said.
He said the government has hurriedly presented a "false, rosy picture" despite knowing well the findings of Arjun Sengupta Committee which had said 70 percent of the people in the country live below the poverty line.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Anurag Thakur today claimed that the Congress-led UPA was "fudging" figures of the number of poor people in the country and playing "dirty politics".
"On the number of poor people in the country, the UPA government has played with figures...Only six months back, the Centre claimed that the number of poor has been increasing each day, whereas now it asserts that their number has come down," he said in Chandigarh.
"The government is just fudging the figures and playing dirty politics," Thakur said while addressing a party meeting.
He alleged that the Congress-led UPA had failed to provide adequate employment to the youths in the country.
"BJP and its allies-ruled states have given more jobs to youths than states ruled by Congress and its allies," Thakur, who is also BJP youth wing national president, said.
Quoting recent National Sample Survey Organisation data, Thakur said UPA I provided jobs to 20 lakh youths whereas UPA II could provide employment to only 10 lakh youths.
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.
(With PTI inputs)