By Neha Mayuri:
The general elections are near, the Congress-led UPA government boasts of excellent figures about how it has worked towards alleviating poverty! And, to spice up the accomplishments the government got some more brownie points! The Indian Planning Commission recently stated if your consumption of goods exceeds 33 Rupees per day in cities and 28 Rupees per day in villages, you are not considered poor!
A planning commission report said poverty, both in rural and urban India, had declined in the last eight years. But the panel continues to use the controversial Tendulkar Method to determine the poor. The report further stated the number of people living below the poverty line has shrunk to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12 from 37.2 per cent in 2004-2005 on account of increase in per capita consumption. They are of the view that rural poverty has declined faster than urban poverty in India.
Alas! This is a cruel joke on the country’s poor. Adding insult to the injury is Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar, who states that it is possible to have a “full meal” at Rs. 12 in Mumbai even today!
According to an article published in The Economic Times, Raj Babbar told reporters, “People should have full meals two times a day. How one can have it is a very good question that you have asked. Even today in Mumbai city, I can have a full meal at Rs 12. No not vada paav. So much of rice, daal saambhar and with that some vegetables are also mixed.”
This statement is ridiculously immature and laughable.
According to an article in TOI, published on July 6th 2013: The price trend of vegetable has continued to hike incessantly! Tomatoes are selling at Rs 60 a kilo with ladyfingers at Rs. 50 and brinjal at Rs. 40 a kg. Apart from these vegetables capsicum and bitter gourd is sold at Rs. 80 a kg, gourd bottle at Rs. 20 a piece! Cauliflower and cabbage are sold at anything between Rs. 55 and Rs. 60 for a small piece. Even basic and the most common vegetable like potatoes are being sold at Rs. 30 per kg and onion at Rs. 25 per kg! And we haven’t spoken about the price of rice and other nutritional fruits. Have we forgotten the price of milk which is Rs. 35 a kg?
On what basis is it assumed and further tabulated that you and me can survive on Rs. 33 a day if we live in cities and Rs. 28 a day if stay in a village? This criterion is not only unrealistic but completely unmindful of present day realities.
The costs of basic food items have climbed so much that even the basic requirements like housing, clothes, medical care, and schooling cannot be realized with it. According to The Planning Commission Of India there is a sharp decline in poverty, but why is the poor getting poorer?
In just 50 to 60 years since Independence, India has emerged as the fourth largest economy of the world. A million dollar question which evidently arises – why have we failed in tackling the problem of poverty till now? Are these poll gimmicks really necessary even at the cost of hurting the sentiments of Indians?