Digvijay questions plan panel's method

Digvijay questions plan panel's method

Amid a raging debate over poverty figures, divergent views appeared within the Congress, with Union minister Kapil Sibal and senior leader Digvijay Singh questioning the Planning Commission’s criteria to fix the poverty line.

While Singh dubbed the plan panel’s criteria for fixing the poverty line “abstract”, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said he did not believe that a family of five can live on Rs 5,000 per month.

“I have always failed to understand the Planning Commission’s criteria for fixing the poverty line. It is too abstract. It can’t be same for all areas," said Singh on microblogging site Twitter.

He added that the first indicator of poverty was malnourishment and anaemia, which was easily measurable. “Can't we have that as criteria?” he asked.

The divergent views appear a couple of days after the Congress staunchly defended the poverty figures issued by the Planning Commission, according to which the number of poor in the country had decreased from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12.

Congress spokesman Raj Babbar had brushed aside criticism of the poverty figures by the BJP, contending that while the UPA believed in eradicating poverty, the Opposition party was interested in eradicating the poor.

Babbar and senior Congress leader Rasheed Masood’s comments on having a hearty meal for Rs 12 and Rs 5, respectively, had created a furore, forcing the party to distance itself from their statements.

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