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Thursday, Oct 21, 2021
Outlook.com

Counting Poorly

The Planning Commission’s definition of poverty is inexplicable

Counting Poorly
Nilotpal Baruah
Counting Poorly
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In the urban sprawl that is Delhi, as in any other metro in the country, earning no more than Rs 25 per day with a family to support would prove nightmarish. Food and clothes have to be bought, there may be school-going children, colds, fevers or upset stomachs to get treated, someone with a chronic problem needing long-term treatment. Surely, someone living on Rs 25 a day would qualify as poor. But not by the benchmark set by the Planning Commission and the government of India. The urban poor have been defined as earning less than Rs 20 per day, the rural poor as earning Rs 15 per day. Anyone earning even a few rupees more than that does not qualify for a below poverty line (BPL) card and the benefits it confers.

Callous as this may sound, unless you starve and join the swelling ranks of those who live their life on the pavements, begging for a living, you cannot be officially poor. The...

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