Can you tell me what can be bought Rs. 20 in current times when commodity costs are nearly doubling in few years and inflation is consistently in double-digits ? One cannot even buy a litre of milk for Rs. 20, forget about having an entire meal.
But that is the cut-off point that planning commission folks have given for BPL (Below Poverty Line) families. What it means is that any family spending more than Rs. 20 a day (Rs. 578 a month to be precise) on their basic needs cannot be termed as Poor!
According to planning commission, A family cannot be deemed as poor if their average monthly spend is more than Rs. 31 on rent and conveyance, Rs. 18 on education, Rs. 25 on medicines or Rs 36.5 on vegetables.
And this limit is for urban people – In rural areas, this figure is even lower at Rs. 15 a day for all expenses put together!
If you consider World Bank figures as to what should generally constitute a Poverty line cut-off, it is 1.25 US Dollars a day, whereas at Rs. 20 (about 43 cents), India’s cut-off is three times lower!
Ain’t this ridiculous !
And, these figures are the basis to calculate the poor in our country! Even with such ridiculous numbers, 41.8% of the rural and 25.7% or urban population is defined as being poor.
Honestly, I don’t believe that 1 in 4 urbanites and 2 out 5 villagers are living on less than Rs. 20 a day (Surprisingly, this TOI article feels that the number should be more).
But this figure is probably inflated because most of the Indians hide their earnings to get the BPL status, which allows them subsidized food, accommodation, pensions and medical treatment among other things.
What is your take on this ?