BPL families in Karnataka get only 20-kg grain

Out of about 5.28-crore population in Karnataka, 25 per cent, numbering 1.38 crore people averaging 37 per cent nationally, belong to below poverty line (BPL) and get benefits of subsidised food grain supply, according to the data supplied to the Supreme Court.

About 75.05 lakh people, i.e 20.8 per cent in rural areas, and 63.83 lakh, i.e 32.6 per cent in urban areas, are in the BPL category, says data produced by People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) that has been fighting for more allocation of food grains to the states for distribution among the poor.

The facts were based on the data released by Planning Commission in a press release in March 2007, said the documents submitted to the court last week.

Advocate Colin Gonsalves, while submitting the documents before the bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari, said the facts were as per the 2001 census count of 5.28-crore population and the situation now might be different as many more families might have slipped into the BPL and the AAY categories.

‘’As per the 2004-05 estimates, the rural per capita per day expenditure for setting the poverty line is Rs 12 and for urban areas, it is Rs 17 (Planning Commission estimation),’’ said the document.The PUCL submitted that according to the Centre’s estimation, any person spending more than Rs 12 per day in rural areas and more than 17 per day in urban areas could not be considered poor and were not entitled to subsidised food grain through fair price shops.

Except Kerala, all state governments have used the 13-point criteria survey developed by the Union Ministry of Rural Development for identification of poor families.

On the last date of hearing, Central government’s advocate had argued that it had been supplying food grain to the states according to the data set by the Planning Commission in 1993-94. “The difference in the numbers identified by the state government and the Central government is primarily because the estimation of poverty was done using the 1993-94 estimates of the Planning Commission,’’ said the document.

According to the submission by the Centre, the country has about 37 per cent population below poverty line, getting benefits of subsidised food grains.

The Centre has told the apex court that the additional allocation of food grains released this year would be provided to landless labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans, dailywage earners in the rural areas, rickshaw pullers, cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, snake charmers, rag pickers, cobblers and destitutes.

The Antodaya Anna Yojana(AAY) scheme had been extended to cover more than 2.50 crore households of the BPL families, the affidavit said.

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