`On Rs 32 a day, only dogs can live`

National Advisory Council member NC Saxena said no human can survive on Rs 32 a day.

New Delhi: Making light of the Planning Commission`s controversial affidavit in the Supreme Court on BPL yardstick, National Advisory Council (NAC) member NC
Saxena on Sunday said no human can survive on Rs 32 a day.

"On Rs 32 a day you know only dogs and animals can live," he said as the Commission is likely to revisit its affidavit following widespread criticism.

The government has indicated that the Commission could change its affidavit, which had held that people consuming more than Rs 25 in rural areas and Rs 32 in urban areas do not come under BPL category.

Several other members of Congress president Sonia Gandhi-headed NAC had rejected the new poverty line cap as "atrocious".

In a country where 80 percent of the population is poor, Saxena said, the government should give benefits to them but totally disagreed with the Rs 32 concept to determine the Below Poverty Line (BPL) list.

"People who are spending below Rs 32 (a day)...they are poorest of the poor. You can call them destitute, you can call them people living in sub-human level," Saxena said.

Favouring BPL benefit for the people who are poor, Saxena added the government must revisit the definition of poverty line.

In an open letter to Ahluwalia, two prominent social activists and NAC members Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander had questioned the affidavit.

There are also reports that Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has advised Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia to modify the affidavit.

Former Union Minister and noted economist YK Alagh said the poverty line was developed in 1977 and it has no relevance in the present times.

"...(then) our emphasis was only feeding people. Now our aspirations are much higher so I have been a critic of the Tendulkar Committee based exercise (to determine number of poor)," he said.

The Committee had given a methodology to define poverty based on spending on health and education, besides traditional parameter of calorie intake.


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