Rs 32 cut-off limit will not stop sops to the poor | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Rs 32 cut-off limit will not stop sops to the poor

The expenditure criterion of Rs 32 and Rs 26 a day for urban rural areas, respectively, for determining poverty will be de-linked from the eligibility for welfare schemes for the poor. Chetan Chauhan reports. The poverty debate

delhi Updated: Oct 04, 2011 01:41 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The expenditure criterion of Rs 32 and Rs 26 a day for urban rural areas, respectively, for determining poverty will be de-linked from the eligibility for welfare schemes for the poor.

The government said on Monday, after receiving flak for its poverty line that many felt was unrealistic, that centre had been spending over Rs 180,000 crore on welfare schemes in 2011-12.

Earlier, activists, including members of the national advisory council, led by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, termed the poverty benchmark as inadequate and called for a revision. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/041011/04-10-11-metro1b.jpg

NAC member Harsh Mander welcomed the decision, while another member NC Saxena said no new decision had been taken.

"There will be no link between the poverty line and disbursement of benefits," plan
panel deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said at a press conference with rural development minister Jairam Ramesh.

But Ramesh said there would be a cap on the total number of beneficiaries under the new benchmark in the proposed National Food Security Bill.

The draft bill, approved by an empowered group of ministers, estimates 46% of rural population and 28% urbanites as priority households.

"It (the food bill) can change as the union cabinet is yet to approve the bill," Ramesh said, adding that universalisation of government schemes was a "recipe" for fiscal disaster.

Ahluwalia said the benchmark only accounted for the "rock-bottom level of existence," and is primarily meant to measure economic development.

After the completion of the socio-economic caste census in January 2012, the "eligibility and entitlements of rural households in the country for central government programmes and schemes will be determined, a government statement said.

The survey will identity people on the basis of automatic inclusion and deprivation index.

An expert committee will be appointed to ensure that the new methodology is consistent with the provisions of the food security bill, the statement said.

Attorney general GE Vahanvati will brief the Supreme Court on the government decision at the next hearing on October 11.