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Contest asks you to last on Rs. 31 a day

Started on a social networking website, organiser offers winners cash prizes for one year if they manage to match expenses to Planning Commission’s new Below Poverty Line estimate.

entertainment Updated: Oct 10, 2011 02:48 IST
Collin Rodrigues
Collin Rodrigues
Hindustan Times

The country’s Planning Commission thinks R 32 a day is enough to put a family of five in urban areas above the poverty line. And now, a Facebook group has put up a contest on the social networking site, challenging users to spend one whole month on just R 31 a day. Those who manage to, will be rewarded with the identical amount, paid everyday for one calendar year. The first 10 people to do so take home the winning purse. Mobile and transportation should be included, and the contest also requires you to document each day on a social networking site or blog.

The group was started by Los Angeles-based Ajesh Shah. He says, “The contest is more of a social experiment, and I think most Indians who live above the poverty line wonder if it’s possible to live with just R 31 a day. Most of us downright reject it, some of us believe it is possible. We do not realise the value of R 1, unless we had to count every single rupee.” He insists that his isn’t an anti-government stance, saying, “We aren’t trying to make a mockery of anything. We want this experiment to shed light on how life could be if we were given just that much to live.”

The challenge also requires the participant not to be dependent on goodwill. Housing and access to the web are the only exceptions. But why spend from one’s own pocket to prove a point? “By putting up my own money, I hope to find honest and real people who are ready for the task,” Ajesh says, adding, “We’ve refused any kind of sponsorship or brand association. But if citizens want to help by supporting people, we will gladly accept.”

First Published: Oct 04, 2011 14:25 IST