The controversy over number of poor in India took a new turn on Thursday when the Planning Commission junked Tendulkar methodology which was basis for the claim that 29.8% of Indians were poor.
Hit by a political storm with Mulayam Singh Yadav demanding sacking of plan panel deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia, minister of state for planning Ashwini Kumar announced scrapping of the methodology saying it was not based on existing realities.
“The government has taken a decision to set up a technical group to revise the methodology for estimating poverty in a manner consistent with the current realities,” Kumar said, two days after Ahluwalia backed the Tendulkar methodology.
“In the last 8-9 years since Tendulkar committee was constituted there has been a lot of change in perception of poverty.” Kumar also announced that except subsidised ration to be provided under the proposed National Food Security law, all other entitlements could be linked with the new poverty lines to be defined.
Ahluwalia and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh had earlier said poverty line will not be linked with any entitlements provided by the Centre.
The minister said the poverty line should reflect position on the ground rather than imposing an “artificial” cap and the technical group will review the existing methodology for the same. PM Manmohan Singh decided the review in December 2011, Kumar said, but the constitution of the group has not been decided so far.
Till Tuesday, the plan panel had denied any move to review the Tendulkar methodology saying it had come into force only in 2009 and is based on expenditure for sustainable living.