The World Bank: India`s anti-poverty schemes ineffective due to corruption and mismanagement
INDIA’S economic planning body has said any villager earning 50 cents a day is not poor and should not qualify for a government ration card - a figure condemned by experts.
Those with a daily income of 25 rupees (50 cents) in villages and 32 rupees (65 cents) in cities should be ineligible for subsidised food and other supplies, the Planning Commission told India`s Supreme Court.
Anyone earning above these levels would have enough funds for "food, education and health", the commission said in a submission to the court.
The proposed new benchmarks, which have already been approved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s office, were condemned by poverty experts as unrealistic - especially with India`s soaring inflation.
"There is no way one person can feed and house himself on such low wages. This figure has no meaning for the common man," Anupama Datta, deputy head of the National Slum Dwellers Federation said.
The Planning Commission, which says it has to set the poverty line to make optimal use of funds, filed the figures after the Supreme Court requested the updating of the cut-off point in the face of India`s near double-digit inflation.
While India boasts a burgeoning class of urban rich thanks to a fast-growing economy, hundreds of millions of people still face a lack of food, clean water and proper housing.
"A kilogramme (2.2 pounds) of rice costs 40 rupees (around 44 cents) which would last a family just one day," said New Delhi housemaid Ambeka Muthuswami.
India`s proposed poverty line cut-off is far below the World Bank`s figure of $1.25 (£0.80) a day.
Prominent Indian social activist Aruna Roy said that the level reflected "the government’s lack of empathy for the poor" and a "perspective completely divorced from reality."
The Congress-led government has been under huge pressure to reduce its massive subsidy bill for the poor in order to reduce a gaping fiscal deficit.
Around 37 per cent of India`s 1.2 billion population are currently deemed to live below the poverty line and are being given subsidised food and cooking fuel through state-owned stores.
Biraj Patnaik, adviser to an official commission on the right to food, said "when it comes to helping the poor, the government wants as few people as possible to get even the minimum benefits" to reduce its expenditure.
The final poverty line cut-off figures will be set after a national survey to be carried out in 2011-12, the commission said.
No Comments Posted yet
Do you have comments on this?