Activists working among deprived sections in the state have slammed the new criteria and statistics related to below poverty line (BPL) sections, saying that the claims of drastic reduction in poverty levels are a conspiracy to eliminate the poor and not poverty.
The reaction of the activists comes in wake of the recent announcement of Planning Commission of India (PCI) that the percentage of BPL people in the country had come down to 21.9% in 2011-12 compared to 37.2% in 2004-05.
Also, the PCI has pegged the BPL daily expenditure cut-off at Rs. 27.20 for rural and Rs. 33.30 for urban India.
The MP Lok Sangharsh Sajha Manch — a network of organisations working for deprived sections — has once again highlighted the results of its mock BPL survey conducted in 2011, which showed that 13.4% of the genuine poor people in the state would be right away excluded from BPL category if the criteria decided by the Union government are implemented.
The survey had studied 2,621 families in 24 villages of 36 districts.
It showed according to government cut- off on BPL (53.6% of families in rural MP are in BPL category), 1,404 families should have been in BPL category, the implementation of three-phase criteria of Union government excluded an additional 352 (13.4%) families from the purview of BPL.
Also among 561 families excluded because of automatic exclusion criteria, 145 resided in a single room kutcha house, 126 families had no members in earning age group of 16 to 59 years while women headed 115 families.
All these facts should have included the families in BPL category.
Among the other families excluded, 70 had disabled members and 35 were of scheduled tribe category -- criteria that should have included them in BPL category.
Citing these figures, the organisations and activists have said it is clear that the Union government and planning commission were playing with the statistics and trying to exclude genuinely poor people from BPL category so that they could on one have save upon the subsidy money and on other pat its back on success of economic policies.
Uma Chaturvedi of NGO Sahayog, working for Saharia tribal in Sheopur district, has said the BPL criteria would lead to increase in malnutrition and hunger situation.
Govind Yadav of Gramin Vikas Samiti in Damoh has said the government is cutting a joke on poor people by saying that those spending over Rs. 27.20 per day are not poor.
Rajendra Bajode of Deenbandhu, working for urban poor of Indore, has said survival is impossible at Rs. 33 per day.
Upasana Behar who works with Muslim community in Bhopal has said the new BPL criteria have further pushed the poor Muslim families on the brink of survival.
Already, 58% of urban Muslims in MP are in BPL category against 41% of general population.
Anand Shriwas of Adiwasi Adhikar Manch in Satna has said due to the whimsical criteria of PCI, poor and needy people would be deprived on benefit of government schemes.