New Delhi: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday to discuss the smoldering issue of Rs 32 per capita per day poverty line definition which has rocked the nation. He is likely to clarify the panel's stand on the much highlighted matter on Monday.

The Planning Commission Deputy Chief, who returned from a 10-day foreign visit on Saturday, met the Prime Minister on Sunday for the first time since the controversy erupted after an affidavit filed by the Plan panel in the Supreme Court.

It is believed that on Monday Ahluwallia is going to project the reasons of the government’s announcement of the definition of the Below Poverty Line.

According to sources, Ahluwallia is mainly upset by the questions that have been raised on the Planning Commission due to government’s announcement. He also informed the PM that a final decision has not been taken on the issue.

As per the affidavit, a family of five spending less than Rs 4,824 (at June, 2011, prices) in urban areas will fall in the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category. The expenditure limit for a family in rural areas has been fixed at Rs 3,905.

The announcement has even raised some voices within the Planning Commission. Among others, National Advisory Council (NAC) member Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander challenged the Rs 32 per person poverty definition of the Commission. Ridiculing the Commission's poverty line, NAC member N C Saxena said, "On Rs 32 a day, you know only dogs and animals can live."

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi is believed to have intervened in the matter and has reportedly asked the Plan panel to do a rethink on its definition of poverty.

Officials in the Planning Commission have said that providing benefits to more persons would defeat the purpose of the anti-poverty programme.

The number of poor entitled to BPL benefits, as per the affidavit has been estimated at 40.74 crore, as against 37.2 crore estimated at the time of accepting the Tendulkar Committee report.

Ahluwalia is also scheduled to meet Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday.

JPN/Agencies