Entitlements will not be linked to poverty line: Planning Commission

March 20th, 2012 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) The Planning Commission Tuesday said food subsidies and other entitlements will not be linked to the new poverty line.

“Entitlements for food subsidy benefits will not be linked to the number of persons estimated to be below the official poverty line,” the Planning Commission said in a supplementary note on the latest poverty estimate.

The clarification came a day after the Commission announced a substantial reduction in poverty largely due to a new definition of the poverty line set at Rs.28.65 per capita daily consumption in cities and Rs.22.42 in rural areas.

This has led to fears in socio-political circles that the new figures with reduction in poverty percentages might affect food and other entitlements.

The Commission said for the purpose of food security the size of the beneficiary population will be much larger and will be determined as per entitlements stated in the Food Security Bill.

According to the data released by the Commission Monday, over 8 percent of Indians have come above the poverty line in five years from 2004-05 to 2009-10. The Commission has pegged the poverty ratio at 29.8 percent, down from 37.2 percent.

The Commission’s new estimates is based on the methodology suggested by the Suresh Tendulkar Committee for updating of the poverty line.

As per the new methodology, an individual above a monthly consumption of Rs.859.6 in urban areas and Rs.672.8 in rural areas, is not considered poor.

The Planning Commission said the methodology of determining the poverty line will be revised from time to time based on the recommendations of experts.

“The real purpose of estimating a population below a fixed poverty line is to judge whether progress is being made over time,” the commission said.

For this purpose, the poverty line must be the same over time and updated to reflect price changes on the basis of an established methodology. If a higher poverty line is used, the absolute number of people below the line will obviously be larger, it said.

“However, the results regarding trends in poverty will not be altered.”

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