New Delhi: The government Wednesday said over
5.5 crore families have been identified as Below Poverty Line
(BPL) by various states and union territories under the 2002
Census, although a few other have either not covered or failed
to report about the segment.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State
for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Ashwini Kumar said the
figure is less than that of the 1997 census, when number of
BPL families was identified at 5.55 crore but added that the
two were not comparable due to the diverse methodologies used.
"As per guidelines issued for BPL census 2002, there was
a ceiling on the number of BPL households to be identified in
conformity with the poverty estimates of Planning Commission,"
the minister said.
Kumar said the government has received requests from a
few states to increase the ceiling for identification of BPL
"Expert group headed by Suresh Tendulkar has submitted
its report (for increase in ceiling) and the same has been
accepted by the Planning Commission," he said.
As per the 2002 BPL census, the highest number of poor
families were in Bihar (1.13 crore), followed by Uttar Pradesh
(one crore), Maharashtra (45 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (40 lakh)
and West Bengal (39 lakh).
However, a few states and UTs like Orissa, Tripura,
Chhattisgarh and Kerala have either not recorded the data or
not reported the number of BPL households.
"Results of BPL census 1997 and 2002 are not comparable
as both the surveys were conducted with different
methodologies," Kumar added.
The minister also said that currently there are no
uniform criteria for identification of persons below poverty
line in urban areas.
The Planning Commission has constituted a committee
sunder the chairmanship of S R Hashim to recommend suitable
methodology for identifying BPL families in urban areas.
"The report of the expert group is expected to be
submitted by May 2011," Kumar said.