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Controversy over poverty line "overdone": WB Prez

Lauding India for managing to reduce poverty, WB Prez Robert Zoellick said that controversy over poverty line of daily consumption was overdone.



New Delhi: Lauding India for managing to reduce poverty, World Bank President Robert Zoellick on Friday said that controversy over poverty line of Rs 28.65 daily
consumption was "overdone".

"I have to tell you frankly that I think, it has been
overdone," he said when asked about his views on the Planning
Commission latest poverty estimates which received widespread
criticism within and outside Parliament.

The good news, Zoellick said, is "that India has reduced
the number of people below its poverty line. But I certainly
did not encounter any statement of interest by the Indian
government that they do not want to increase the income of all
the Indians, (especially) those who are below (that line)."

According to the latest estimates of the Commission,
people with the daily consumption of more than Rs 28.65
in cities and Rs 22.42 in rural areas are not poor.

The number of poor in India has declined to 34.47 crore
in 2009-10 from 40.72 crore in 2004-05 as per the estimates
based on Tendulkar panel methodology which factors in spending
on health and education, besides the calorie intake.

The data pegged the poverty ratio at 29.8 per cent of the
population in 2009-10, down from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05.

The countries set their own individual poverty lines
based on various calculations, Zoellick said, adding, "India
has reduced the number of people below poverty. That is a good
thing."

On World Bank`s poverty line of a dollar a day, he said,
it "is based on some tough international comparisons...whether
you are using a dollar a day or Rs 25 a day or a few dollars a
day, people are still struggling.

"I think even if you are trying to get people out of the
poverty line, people are still poor. So the challenge for
India is to try and create an upward layer of opportunity," he
added.

PTI

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