Ex-MP seeks clarity on discrepancies in govt, NITI Aayog data on poverty
The former MP criticised the government's reliance on the number of red ration card holders as a thumb rule for measuring poverty.
PUDUCHERRY: Citing discrepancy between data released by the government and NITI Aayog on Puducherry's Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index (MPI), former Lok Sabha member M Ramadass urged the Puducherry government to conduct a household survey to estimate the Head Count Ratio, poverty, and the MPI using NITI Aayog's methodology.
In a statement issued, Ramadass noted that NITI Aayog's report, "National Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index: A Progress Review 2023", released on July 17, indicated that Puducherry was on the path of achieving zero MPI, with only 0.85% of its population living below the poverty line. This was, however, in contrast to figures provided by the Puducherry government, which calculated the poverty rate to be at 54%. The government figures were an RTI response from the Department of Civil Supplies in September 2019. Thus, Ramadass emphasised the need for clarity from the Lt Governor Dr Tamiliasai Soundararajan and Chief Minister N Rangasamy.
The NITI Aayog report revealed a remarkable decline of 50.3 percentage points in the number of multi-dimensionally poor individuals in Puducherry, dropping from 1.71% in 2015-16 to 0.85% in 2019-2021. The rural areas experienced a significant decline of 78.7%, from 3.33% to 0.71%, while urban areas saw a 7.14% drop, going from 0.98% to 0.91% during the same period. The MPI value also decreased nearly by half, from 0.007 to 0.003, positioning Puducherry ahead of the stipulated timeline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target of 1.2.
The former MP criticised the government's reliance on the number of red ration card holders as a thumb rule for measuring poverty. He accused the government of perpetuating vote bank politics at the expense of public funds, and urged to conduct a comprehensive survey using NITI Aayog's methodology. Ramadass called on the chief secretary and development commissioner to address these issues.