New Delhi: According to the latest report of Planning Commission, the number of people living below the poverty line has shrunk to 21.9 percent in 2011-12 from 37.2 percent in 2004-05 on account of increase in per capita consumption.

As per the methodology followed by the Planning Commission, people with daily earning of Rs 27.20 per capita in rural areas and Rs 33.33 per capita in urban areas are not poor. Now the question is, if the plan panel’s criteria to measure the level of poverty in the country is realistic? 
    
According to the Commission, in 2011-12 for rural areas, the national poverty line by using the Tendulkar methodology is estimated at Rs 816 per capita per month in villages and Rs 1,000 per capita per month in cities.
    
This would mean that the persons whose consumption of goods and services exceed Rs 33.33 in cities and Rs 27.20 per capita per day in villages are not poor.
    
Earlier, the Planning Commission had triggered a major controversy by saying anyone spending more than Rs 32 per day in urban areas was not poor. This criteria for fixing poverty line was criticised across the political spectrum as being unrealistic and unmindful of present day realities.
    
Planning Commission on Tuesday gave out the poverty ratio using the same criteria saying the number poor in the country have shrunk in the past 7 years.
    
The Commission said that for a family of five, the all India poverty line in terms of consumption expenditure would amount of Rs 4,080 per month in rural areas and Rs 5,000 per month in urban areas. The poverty line, however, will vary from state to state.
    
State-wise, the Commission said the poverty ratio was highest in Chhattisgarh at 39.93 percent followed by Jharkhand (36.96 pc), Manipur (36.89 pc), Arunachal Pradesh (34.67 pc) and Bihar (33.47 pc).
    
Among the union territories, the Dadra and Nagar Haveli was the highest, with 39.31 percent people living below poverty line followed by Chandigarh at 21.81 percent.
    
Goa has the least percentage of people living below poverty line at 5.09 percent followed by Kerala (7.05%), Himachal Pradesh (8.06%), Sikkim (8.19%), Punjab (8.26%) and Andhra Pradesh (9.20%).

(JPN/Agencies)

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