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New panel to be set up to reassess poverty figures

Mar 22, 2012 02:30 PM IST India India

New Delhi: A new committee will be set up to reassess poverty estimates, according to sources. The committee is to be set up by the Planning Commission.

An announcement is likely to made at 4 pm on Thursday.

The government has been facing flak over what exactly constitutes poverty and what are the factors that decide the poverty line.

This came after the Planning Commission said that the poverty in India has come down in the country during the 2009-2010 period. According to its latest report, the Commission said more than 8 per cent of India has come above the poverty line in five years.

Going by the controversial daily consumption number of Rs 28.65 per day, one out of every three Indian is poor as per the new Planning Commission's estimates, which has pegged the poverty ratio in 2009-10 at 29.8 per cent, down from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05.

An individual above a monthly consumption of Rs 859.6 in urban cities and Rs 672.8 in rural areas (at per 2009-10 prices) is not considered poor, says the Planning Commission's estimate based on the controversial Tendulkar Committee methodology.

The Plan panel has kept the poverty threshold in its recent estimates lower than Rs 32 per capita per day consumption in urban cities and Rs 26 in rural areas is provided last year, which were based on June 2011 prices.

The Plan panel had said in its affidavit before the apex court that the "poverty line at June 2011 price level can be placed provisionally at Rs 965 (Rs 32 per day) per capita per month in urban areas and Rs 781 (Rs 26 per day) in rural areas".

The civil society had questioned this definition stating it was very low.

Poverty has actually increased significanlty in the north eastern states, decreased marginally in bihar, UP, chhattisgarh. The surprise was Odisha, which shows a sharp decline.

As per estimates released earlier this week, the number of poor in India has declined to 34.47 crore in 2009-10 from 40.72 crore in 2004-05.

The methodology recommended by the Tendulkar Committee includes spending on health and education, besides the calorie intake.

Among religious groups, Sikhs have lowest poverty ratio in rural areas at 11.9 per cent, whereas in urban areas, Christians have the lowest proportion of poor at 12.9 per cent. Poverty ratio is the highest for Muslims, at 33.9 per cent, in urban areas.

Further, poverty in rural areas declined at a faster pace than in urban cities between 2004-05 and 2009-10.