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Plan panel to set up committee to measure poverty

Facing criticism over the methodology being adopted to measure poverty, the Planning Commission will soon set up a technical committee comprising experts to look into the whole issue.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2012 16:36 IST

Facing criticism over the methodology being adopted to measure poverty, the Planning Commission will soon set up a technical committee comprising experts to look into the whole issue.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Saturday said the committee would be announced shortly.

He told reporters in Hyderabad on the sidelines of Prime Minister's Rural Development Fellows Programme that based on the recommendations of the proposed panel, poverty would be measured against the new bench-mark from the 12th five-year plan onwards.

Ahluwalia said there was a need to have a multi-dimensional approach to measuring poverty.

"The prime minister himself said that this poverty line is only linked to consumption but poverty may not just have to do with consumption but also with running water connection, pucca or kutcha house and you could have two or three other dimensions of poverty."

He clarified that poverty line at Rs 28.65 daily consumption would not be linked to the benefits under various social sector schemes of the government.

"The poverty line of Tendulkar committee is no longer linked to benefits and it is only serving the purpose to measure what is happening and to judge effectiveness of the policy," he said.

According to the commission, poverty ratio, based on the Tendulkar committee formula, has declined to 29.8% in 2009-10, from 37.2% in 2004-05.

However, the commission has come under criticism for arriving at this figure on the basis of per capita daily consumption of Rs 28.65 in cities and Rs 22.42 in rural areas.

Claiming that the poverty ratio has come down by whatever method of calculation adopted, Ahluwalia remarked that the criticism was due to the "unwillingness to accept the fact that the growth we have seen is more inclusive than earlier".

The Planning Commission deputy chairman said that before UPA (United Progressive Alliance) came to power in 2004, the decline in poverty ratio per year was 0.74 percent but after 2004, poverty reduction ratio has improved to 1.5%.

"When the data of 2011-12 comes in, this 1.5% will become bigger," he said.

He, however, clarified that the government is not claiming that poverty has been eliminated.