The way the Planning Commission has decided to constitute an expert committee to define the poverty has landed the Central government in the fireline. The government cannot wash its hands that it is ignorant of the Planning Commission’s earlier calculation of drawing the poverty line: people spending Rs 32 a day in urban areas or Rs 26 a day in villages no longer below the poverty line. For this, the ruling establishment faced a lot of criticisms. It is unfortunate that in spite of stiff opposition, the government has accepted the report of the Planning Commission which has fixed that anybody who spends Rs 22 and 28 in rural and urban areas respectively cannot be called as poor. It is difficult for the people to understand that how the definition of poverty has changed for the last several days. It appears that neither the Planning Commission nor the Central government has worked earnestly in this context. The way the definition of poverty is defined once again highlighted the government’s failure in exercising its own rules and regulations. Somebody from the government machinery has to come forward to explain why this report of the Planning Commission that a person whose income exceeds Rs 22 and Rs 28 in rural and urban areas respectively cannot be termed as poor.

It is not surprising that the Opposition party has not only slammed the report of the Planning Commission, members of the ruling party also pooh poohed it. The Central government cannot shrug off the fact that in India there is a large number of people living below the poverty line. Even though the government time and again claims that the level of poverty has declined in India, the ground reality is far cry, as the Human Development Index (HDI) of the country has deteriorated badly. The government must learn that if it shies away from the truth, it could bear the brunt. Needless to say, if a major portion of the society is bracketed with poverty, it will hamstring the development of the nation.  It is necessary that the government should take transparent and honest measure to define the poverty as well as enable the poor and economically marginalized people to manage two square meals.