Call it a “rude joke” on the poor of the country or a political gimmick, the Planning Commission has come up with sensational statistics that poverty in India has declined to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12 from 37.2 in 2004-05. The data aimed at drawing a sharp comparison between the NDA and UPA regimes and make people believe that they are no longer poor.
The controversial Tendulkar Committee methodology was used to distinguish between the poor and rich. The Congress wants to make the country believe that people, whose consumption of goods and services exceed Rs 33.33 in cities and Rs 27.20 in villages per day, are not poor.
“The percentage of persons below poverty line in 2011-12 has been estimated at 25.7 per cent in rural areas, 13.7 per cent in urban areas and 21.9 per cent for the country as a whole, said the Planning Commission. According to them, around 26.93 crore people were found below poverty line in 2011-12 as compared to 40.71 crore in 2004-05.
The poverty ratio was highest in Chhattisgarh at 39.93 per cent followed by Jharkhand (36.96%), Manipur (36.89%), Arunachal Pradesh (34.67%) and Bihar (33.47%). The states, which have least poverty ratio, included Goa (5.09%), Kerala (7.05%), Himachal Pradesh (8.06%), Sikkim (8.19%), Punjab (8.26%) and Andhra Pradesh (9.20%).
Odisha and Bihar, which are considered as the poorest states in India, have registered the sharpest decline in poverty levels between 2004-05 and 2011-12 even though the proportion of the poor in these states remains above the national average. In Odisha, the poverty ratio has gone down to 32.6% in 2011-12 from 57.2% in 2004-05. In Bihar, the BPL population was estimated at 33.7% in 2011-12, as compared to 54.4% in 2004-05.