The politics of poverty is at play with the Planning Commission claiming that the number of poor came down from 29.8% in 2009-10 to 21.9% in 2011-12, but failed to specify the poverty line.
The last poverty line — Rs. 32 per person per day in urban areas and Rs. 26 for rural areas in 2012 — was widely criticised as a deliberate effort to keep the number of poor low. “The new poverty line would still be low,” admitted commission member Saumitra Chaudhari.
Keeping the poverty line low is the probable reason for such a dip in poverty numbers despite the consumer price inflation rate shooting up to around 10%.
The Planning Commission used Tendulkar methodology to arrive at the new estimates. Only, this methodology was junked by the commission in 2012 with a promise to have a more rational methodology.
The commission’s deputy chairperson Montek Singh on Thursday avoided queries on the new estimates. “The poverty number would come down whatever methodology is employed,” he said.