Although the Planning Commission’s new definition of poverty counts 22% of the population as “poor,” the country’s ambitious poverty-reduction programme, the National Food Security Law, will cater to an overwhelming 67% Indians. Similarly, all social security programmes will continue to cover a much higher proportion of the population.
“It (the food bill) is a totally different exercise and has nothing to do with the new poverty numbers,” a senior plan panel official told HT.
A fresh set of multi-dimensional indicators — not the official poverty line — will be used to identify those who would be eligible for subsidised food entitlements. The Planning Commission is working out the cap of beneficiaries in each state, depending on their population, while states will choose which individuals will qualify.
The rural guaranteed job scheme, NREGA, for example gives universal coverage — anybody demanding 100 days of employment has to be offered work provided he or she enrolled.