NEW DELHI: The previous Planning Commission’s attempt to define poverty with a Rs 33 benchmark evoked a sharp reaction from political parties, including the BJP on Monday. A year later, the C Rangarajan panel report that has come out with new numbers to count the poor has sparked a fresh row with parties challenging the report by Rangarajan, who is also Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.
“This is nothing but making a joke of poor people. Whatever figures have been given and the way they have calculated, our party does not support it,” BSP leader Mayawati said.
The report on poverty estimates that those spending below Rs 47 per day in cities and Rs 33 per day in rural areas would be considered poor. Citing this benchmark, the report further stated that three out of 10 people in India are poor.
Criticising the criteria and economics behind it, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said, “These are ridiculous figures. This makes neither common sense nor economic sense. Nearly one third of the country is under poverty.”
The report also invited criticism from Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal, who said, “Rangarajan should be given Rs 100 daily and asked to survive.”
Coming under fire from all sides, Union Minister Uma Bharti said the issue would be taken up by the government. “We think that the BPL criteria figures are misleading and we will take up the issue with an appropriate forum of the government,” she said.