Redefine poverty line level, says Raman Singh

March 25th, 2008 - 11:15 pm ICT by admin  

Raipur, March 25 (IANS) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Tuesday urged the central government to redefine poverty line level so that the ‘real poor’ would get the benefits of the public distribution system (PDS). “What is the rationale of 27 percent people being accepted by the Planning Commission as below the poverty line (BPL) when the prevalence of malnutrition is more than 50 percent”, asked the chief minister while inaugurating a two-day workshop on “Food Security through PDS: Prospects and Challenges”, organised by the state government here.

Justice D.P. Wadhwa, chairperson of Central Vigilance Committee (CVC) on PDS, and N.C. Saxena, Commissioner to the Supreme Court in the Right to Food case, also supported reconsidering the poverty line level.

According to them, poverty line has been set at unreasonably low levels. They asked the government to make all offences under the PDS cognisable and non-bailable.

Wadhwa said the Delhi government has not only accepted the CVC recommendation to double the income criteria but also enhanced it to Rs.100,000.

Saxena said he felt that the number of BPL families must be doubled to ensure that the poorest sections of the society get covered. Quoting the national sample survey, Saxena said nearly 50 percent of the poorest families in the country did not have access to subsidised food grains.

Referring to the delivery mechanism, Wadhwa said corruption has plagued the system, starting from the Food Corp of India (FCI).

He urged the government to strengthen the legal regime on the PDS and completely computerise the PDS.

Principal advisor to Planning Commission Santosh Mehrotra, officials from several states and representatives of different NGOs were among those attended the workshop.

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