New Delhi: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Wednesday said that India's poverty has declined to 32 percent in 2009-10 from 37.2 percent five years ago.

The estimates are based on the formula suggested by the Tendulkar Committee for computing the number of poor in the country.

"2009-10 data show a decline in poverty from 37.2 percent in 2004-05 to 32 percent in 2009-10 as the per the preliminary data worked out by the Plan panel member Abhijit
Sen," Montek said.

Tendulkar Committee had suggested that poverty should be estimated on the basis on consumption based on cost of living index instead of caloric intake. It said that the basket of goods should also include services like health and education. The new poverty line, as suggested by the Tendulkar Committee, is different for rich and poor states and also different for rural and urban areas within a state.

"These are preliminary data... Abhijit Sen has worked on them...He has reported that the 2009-10 data show a decline in poverty from 37 percent in 2004 to 32 percent in 2009.
I agree with Sen. I agree with his assessment," Ahluwalia said.

He added that the National Sample Survey, which conducts large sample surveys every five years, will launch its next round in 2011-12.

"When the second sample survey (for 2011-12) becomes available by 2013 then we will really know whether the effort to make the 11th Plan more inclusive have been successful or not," Ahluwalia said.

Estimates of poverty are important because the cheap grains under proposed Food Security law will be provided based on these numbers.