Ramesh writes to Montek on BPL cap issue
New Delhi: In the midst of row over Planning
Commission affidavit on Below Poverty Line cap, Rural
Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has written to Montek Singh
Ahluwalia questioning the current methodology and said relying
on plan panel`s estimate to arrive at cut offs will not
resolve the problem.
Asserting that there was need for different yardsticks to
identify household for various schemes, he proposed three
options one of which (Plan A) suggests that there should be no
single BPL list or card.
Instead he suggests that there should be an exclusion
criteria and "all the non-excluded households be part of one
main list with subsidiary lists for specific programmes".
These households will be entitled to various schemes based
on their various deprivation and inclusion criteria and a
Ramesh`s letter to Montek, who is deputy chairperson of
the planning commission, came following a controversy over the
plan panel`s affidavit to the Supreme Court that those
spending Rs 32 a day in urban areas or Rs 26 a day in
villages would no longer be deemed poor by the government.
"Relying on poverty estimates of Planning Commission to
arrive at cut-offs will not resolve this problem in any
manner. There will have to be different cut-offs for different
dimensions and the problem of bunching and exclusion errors
will remain," the Minister said in his letter.
Sources said Montek has responded to Ramesh`s letter
which also suggested three options with pros and cons of each
to consider before arriving at a final decision on the issue.
He told the Minister that the issue should be discussed
as "there is utter confusion on this subject", sources said.
Montek, who is currently in the US, is also learnt to
have informed Ramesh that there was no "necessary connection
between a fixed poverty line and eligibility for the
subsidised food" and "in any case, Food Security Bill will
discuss the priority category".
Ramesh has said that out of the three options, the first
option (Plan A) is "politically the best option available and
also best ensures that no poor household is excluded".
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