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Political parties slam government over new poverty yardstick norms

New Delhi, Thu, 22 Sep 2011 ANI

New Delhi/ Mathura /Patna, Sep 22 (ANI): Opposition parties and also partners of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) have slammed the Central Government after the Planning Commission filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court contending that a sum of rupees 31 is ample to sustain a poor person in urban areas.


Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson Devi Prasad Tripathi said: "Planning Commission was insensitive to the poor people and the 'have-nots'.


"It seems from the Planning Commission's affidavit that they are not sensitive towards poor. By putting the poverty line at rupees 15 or 20 or 25 or 32, they are reflecting that they have nothing to do with miseries of poor," he added.


Another ruling ally, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) completely disagreed with the government's contention.


"What they said is wrong. What they said, how they said, I don't know but nothing can be done in rupees 32 nowadays. That is government estimate but we think everybody needs at least 100 rupees daily," said TMC lawmaker Sudip Bandyopadhyay.


Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has urged the apex court to review the affidavit filed by the government, as it was an unrealistic assessment.


"It is an unrealistic assessment before the Supreme Court. Now that they (Planning Commission on behalf of the government) have submitted it to the Supreme Court, they should relook into this recommendation," BJP leader Chandreshwar Prasad Thakur told reporters Patna.


However, the Congress party said the filing of the affidavit before the Supreme Court was not a frivolous exercise.


Addressing mediapersons, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, said constructive suggestions in this regard are welcome.


"I don't think they deserved to be dismissed out of hand as a frivolous exercise. But let me equally make it clear this is certainly not the last word, all inputs of a constructive nature in this regard are welcome. If there are conceptual reasons, then certainly changes can be looked at and this should be provided in a constructive matter to the Planning Commission" said Singhvi.


The Planning Commission responded to a direction from the apex court to revise norms of per capita amount and update its poverty line figures to reflect rising prices. The poverty line is based on expenditure as on June 2011.


India has been struggling to contain inflation, which is at a 13-month high of 9.78 percent.


The direction was given after the court learnt that the Tendulkar Committee had fixed daily earning of rupees 20 in urban areas and rupees 15 in rural areas to define a 'Below Poverty Line' (BPL) family.


The committee had determined the poverty line at the 2004-05 prices. (ANI)


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