Re-drawing of BPL norms mooted

Re-drawing of BPL norms mooted

Re-drawing of BPL norms mooted

Many underage children earn their livelihoods through  Mothari-ka-khel road shows. AFP

Poverty can be defined in two ways – either through monthly earning or by measuring the calorie intake that indicates if a person earns enough to have square meals a day.

The survey suggests that choosing one of the two options may give an incorrect estimate on the number of BPL families and combining the two would be a better idea. For instance, an expert panel set up by the Union Rural Development Ministry under the chairmanship of former bureaucrat N C Saxena, had pegged the per capita spending at Rs 356 per month in rural areas and Rs 539 per per month in urban areas to determine the number of BPL families.

But that money is sufficient only for 1820 kilo calories while the desired norm would be 2,400 kilo calories for rural areas and 2,100 kilo calories for urban areas.

The Saxena panel, therefore, suggested a monthly monetary spending of Rs 700 in rural areas and Rs 1,000 in urban areas as the benchmark.

If the government accepts the panel’s recommendations, the percentage of people entitled to BPL status should be revised upwards to at least 50 per cent, the survey says.

But another expert panel, set up by the Planning Commission with economist Suresh Tendulkar as chairman, took a different approach to derive a separate headcount.

According to the Planning Commission panel, 41.8 per cent of the rural population come under the poverty line, whereas the combined national figure is 37.2 per cent.

The panel has submitted its report, but the government is yet to take a decision.

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