Poverty figure fight at Sonia’s door
The list of cabinet ministers unhappy with the Planning Commission's view on various policy matters seems to be growing longer.delhi Updated: Sep 21, 2010 01:21 IST
The list of cabinet ministers unhappy with the Planning Commission's view on various policy matters seems to be growing longer.
The latest to join it is Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister, Kumari Selja, who has taken a dispute between her ministry and the Planning Commission over redefining India's urban poverty estimate to UPA president Sonia Gandhi.
Sources said Selja wrote to Gandhi in August last week. "The minister has sent a letter that she had written to the Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia where she had asked him to reconsider the urban poverty estimate of 25.7 per cent, to the Congress chief for her perusal," said a source.
The minister was not available for comment.
The poverty alleviation minister had in early August written to the Planning Commission deputy chairman requesting him to reexamine the urban poverty estimate of 25.7 per cent that the Commission had accepted based on Suresh Tendulkar committee's report.
The ministry has disputed the share of urban poor in the country as calculated by the Tendulkar panel, which, the ministry says based its estimates on the urban poverty line data for 1973-74. According to the ministry the data has become obsolete now.
The minister had asked the Planning Commission to "suitably amend" the terms of reference of the expert group under Prof. Tendulkar.
The plan panel has turned down the ministry's request. Sources said officials in the ministry are peeved as an incorrect estimation of urban poverty figure would adversely impact the implementation of Rajiv Awas Yojana — the ministry's flagship programme to make India slum free — and other welfare schemes.