New Delhi: A Congress member`s contention
that he does not accept 78 per cent of citizens were living at
Rs 20 per day attracted the ire of the Opposition, forcing
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to clarify.
Participating in the discussion on Finance Bill, Sanjay
Nirupam (Cong) said he does not believe in an official report
that 78 per cent of Indians were living at Rs 20 per day. "I
don`t think there is so much of poverty in the country....the
Government is making efforts to improve their living
conditions," he said.
Several BJP members stood up and objected to his
statement. Shahnawaz Hussain (BJP) could be heard saying that
Nirupam was making fun of the poor.
Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said it was the Arjun Sengupta panel
which gave the figures. "The figures are not ours. It was a
Government-appointed committee," he said as Mulayam Singh
Yadav (SP) supported him.
At this, the Finance Minister said three sets of figures
were available on the number of people in the below poverty
line category and the Planning Commission has been asked to
look into the matter so that a "determined figure" could be
When Nirupam cited figures of growth rates of states, Lalu
Prasad (RJD) asked the government to take lessons from Bihar
Government which is ruled by his political rival Nitish Kumar
Nirupam claimed that foodgrain provided to state
governments was not being utilised and gave the example of
This again led to an uproar by BJP members as their senior
leader Yashwant Sinha asked Mukherjee to ensure that Nirupam
does not cross the line by raising "controversial issues."