Poverty line delinked from food and other entitlements given to the poor

Government to wait for results of socio-economic caste census to decide parameters on who should be covered under social welfare programmes

 
By Richard Mahapatra
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

The Planning Commission and the Rural Development Ministry have agreed not to use the current poverty line to decide government food and other entitlements meant for poor. After almost two hours of discussion between the commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia and the rural affairs minister Jairam Ramesh, it has been decided the government will wait till the ongoing Socio-economic Caste Census (SECC) results are out in by the end of 2011 to decide on the parameters for targeting development programmes.

“The present state-wise poverty estimates using the Planning Commission methodology will not be used to impose any ceiling on the number of households to be included in different government programmes and schemes,” says the joint press communique of Ahluwalia and Ramesh. 

The present state-wise poverty estimates using the Planning Commission methodology will not be used to impose any ceiling on the number of households to be included in different government programmes and schemes
New methodology to be adopted to identify below poverty line households
An expert panel will be formed to ensure the new methodology is compatible with the Food Security Bill
 
The past 48 hours saw hectic parleys between the Planning Commission, the Rural Development Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office. Ahluwalia met the prime minister before meeting Ramesh. Earlier, the Commission's affidavit in the Supreme Court proposing a Rs. 26 per day per person poverty line for rural areas led to widespread condemnation. The poverty line is important as only below poverty line people get government food and other entitlements. A low poverty line would have deprived a large number of people from such entitlement.

“The Government of India will take into account multiple dimensions of deprivation based on the indicators that are being collected through the SECC, 2011 for arriving at specific entitlements that rural households will receive under various Central government programmes and schemes,” says the statement. Till the results are out, the current entitlement will continue. It also means that the poverty line, which will be estimated later this year by the Planning Commission, will not be considered for  determining entitlement under various government programmes.

There will be a new methodology adopted to identify the below poverty line households. It will be done along with the ongoing economic-caste census. “This methodology will seek to ensure that no poor or deprived household will be excluded from coverage under different government programmes and schemes.” An expert panel will be formed to ensure the new methodology is compatible with the Food Security Bill.

 

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.