New Delhi: The Planning Commission will constitute an expert group in three months to revisit the methodology for estimating poverty amid demand for removal of its Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia for pegging the poverty line at Rs 28.65 daily per capita consumption for cities.

"The government had taken a decision to set up a technical group to revisit the methodology for estimating poverty in a manner which is consistent with current reality," Minister of State for Planning Ashwani Kumar told reporters here on Thursday.

"The technical group constituted will also have the benefit of socio-economic and caste economic census 2011 data, which will enable the government to purposively revisit poverty estimates in the country," he said.

The group will be constituted in the next three months for which the decision was taken in December last year by the government, he said.

As per the Commission's estimates the poverty ratio has been pegged at 29.8 per cent in 2009-10, down from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05. These are based on the daily per capita consumption of Rs 28.65 in urban cities and Rs 22.42 in rural areas.

The Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh had sought removal of Ahluwalia from the post of Deputy Chairman of the Commission fixing poverty line so low.

"The Prime Minister is responsible as he is the Chairman of the Commission. He should remove the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission from the post," Singh had said on Wednesday.

The Commission's estimates faced criticism in Parliament for its description of poor and resultant fall in people below the poverty line.

The Opposition parties, including BJP, blamed the government for making a "dishonest" attempt to conceal reality through "fraudulent" estimates.

However, Ahluwalia had said that there is serious discrepancy in NSSO data and national accounts which led to pegging of such a low poverty line.

"The issue of poverty estimates has been subject matter of public debate in and outside Parliament. Government respects and is fully conscious of the sensitivity of the people on this issue," Kumar said.

The Commission on Tuesday released poverty data based on the 66th round of the National Sample Survey (2009-10) data on household consumer expenditure survey. The national accounts, which provide data for national income, is prepared by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).

(Agencies)