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India's definition of poverty line still blurry

As per the Tendulkar poverty line, in 2011-12 there were 269.3 million poor people, which was a reduction from 407 million in 2004-05
Last Updated : 05 April 2022, 19:22 IST

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There are 269.3 million people below the poverty line in India currently as per the Tendulkar poverty line, which has defined the poverty line based on monthly spending on food, education, health, electricity and transport.

However, as per an IndiaSpend report, the criteria for deciding the poverty line in India are not enough as ‘it does not consider if amenities, such as good quality education and healthcare, are available to all.’

As per the Tendulkar poverty line, in 2011-12 there were 269.3 million poor people, which was a reduction from 407 million in 2004-05. Of the 269.3 million people, 216.5 million are in rural areas and 52.8 million are in urban areas.

As per the Tendulkar committee, there is a two per cent decline in poverty every year in the seven-year time period.

“They are entitled to a range of benefits, such as subsidised food grain, housing and credit schemes. An accurate estimate of the number of poor is required not just for deciding the number of beneficiaries for welfare schemes but also for determining the minimum wage,” Manjula M, an economist at the Azim Premji University in Bengaluru told the publication.

However, the criteria to determine urban deprivation is still not defined.

"The criteria for identifying the urban poor were never specified. Because of this, what is happening in the urban areas is that we have a very fuzzy picture of poverty on the basis of which ration cards are issued," Pronab Sen, one of the members of S R Hashim Committee told the publication.

An income or consumption-based poverty line can help in declining poverty, but it doesn’t cover the vulnerability of the people just above the poverty line.

"The MDPI is a satisfactory indicator of poverty because it takes into account consumption, access to health and educational facilities and the availability of a shelter. A consumption-based poverty line is also acceptable for rural areas but not for urban areas as there is limited access to health and education facilities and housing in cities," said N C Saxena, a former member of the Planning Commission of India and chairman of the committee on the Below Poverty Line Census for rural areas to the publication.

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Published 05 April 2022, 11:44 IST

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