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Aruna Roy slams Planning Commission’s new criteria for poverty line
September 21, 2011
National Advisory Council (NAC) member Aruna Roy lashed out at the Planning Commission’s new criteria for poverty line submitted to the Supreme Court on tuesday.
“This affidavit reflects the government’s deep lack of empathy for the poor and a perspective completely divorced from reality,” she said.
Roy was reacting to the plan panel’s submission to the Supreme Court, saying if a person’s spending exceeds Rs 32 a day in an urban area or if a villager purchases goods worth more than Rs 26 a day, then the individual will no longer be counted as poor so as to be able to draw benefits of several Central and state government schemes for those living below the poverty line.
She pointed out that “it is obvious that this extremely low estimated expenditure is a threshold aimed only at artificially reducing the number of persons ‘below poverty line’ so as to reduce the government’s expenditure on the poor” .
She added, “In a series of anti-poor decisions, the government has chosen to ignore its commitment towards providing the minimum needs to the poorest of its people.”
Biraj Patnaik, principal advisor to the Supreme Court commissioners in the food case, was also critical of the cut-off finalized by the Planning Commission , despite the apex court’s recommendation to improve it.
He said, “The Planning Commission has been reduced to a group housing society for its members. This affidavit is ample proof of that. Since it has been vetted by the Prime Minister’s Office, it shows that the moral bankruptcy afflicts the highest levels of the government which claims to be for the aam aadmi.”
Roy took a dig at the beleaguered UPA II. “Coming as it does against a backdrop of spectacular scams and widespread disaffection with the state, this shows the indifference of the government to the marginalized,” warning, “If India cannot provide its people with adequate resources to meet their basic needs, it will cripple their full participation in the economy.”