The former head of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council C Rangarajan defended his new poverty estimates even as there was unanimity among all political parties including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party that the panel’s proposed poverty line of per capita daily spending of Rs 32 in rural areas and Rs 47 in urban areas needs to be rejected.
Poor definitions, poorer people
Union minister Uma Bharti said that the party thinks the below poverty line figures were misleading and the issue would be taken up at an appropriate forum in the government.
Opposition parties like CPM, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)termed Rangarajan’s poverty line as appalling.
While BSP supremo Mayawati said the report amounted to “mocking the poor”, SP leader Naresh Aggarwal asked if Rangarajan could survive on Rs 100 a day in an Indian village.
Rangarajan, however, defended his calculation that three out of every 10 Indians are poor saying the numbers provided by him were not conservative estimates and were at par with global standards."The World Bank also talks about purchasing power parity terms. The minimum expenditure per day. They are talking about US $2 per day whereas our estimate comes to US$2.4," he said.
The economist said it is a measure of poverty and a measure of understanding how the economy is moving. But apart from that there is no immediate policy implication.
He urged people to look at the poverty line in terms of a household’s consumption expenditure per month which is estimated at Rs 4,860 in villages and `7,035 for cities for a family of five people.