New Delhi: Opposition parties today raised
the issue of Planning Commission reducing the number of people
living below the poverty line dubbing it as a ploy to deceive
Soon after the Rajya Sabha met for the day, members from
BJP, JD-U, BSP, AIADMK and the Left parties were on their feet
seeking a discussion on the issue.
Chairman Hamid Ansari said the matter can be raised during
the debate on the Union Budget and took up Question Hour. But
the members were unrelenting and continued to raise the issue.
S S Ahluwalia (BJP) said the government is creating a new
"starvation line" by setting the Rs 29 per day cut-off for
income in urban areas and Rs 22 a day cut-off for income in
rural areas as the deciding factor for people living below
Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U), D Raja (CPI) and Satish Chandra
Misra (BSP) voiced opposition to the criteria set by the plan
body for deciding on people living below poverty line and
termed it as a ploy to deceive the poor.
Planning Commission yesterday released data to show that
poverty had significantly declined between 2004-05 and 2009-10
after it lowered the income criteria for defining poor from
the previous Rs 32 per day mark.
"It is a serious matter," Ansari said asking members to
either raise the issue by putting question to the concerned
minister during Question Hour or during debate.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla
said it can be raised during Budget debate beginning tomorrow.
He offered to convey sentiments of the members to the
Minister for Planning and Programme Implementation and request
him to clarify position.
Ansari then said, "It is a commitment. It is settled." The
House then took up the listed questions.