We all heard about IPL-Indian Premier League. Very few of us including me heard about BPL. BPL is a term coined to describe people who are Below the Poverty Line.
Yesterday (Sept 20, 2011), the so-called Planning commission submitted its report to the Supreme Court of India recommending the new poverty limits for urban and rural areas to be set at Rs. 965 and Rs. 781 per capita per month, respectively. To explain in simple lay man terms, a person living in an urban area spending more than 965 rupees per month (Rs. 32 per day) cannot be considered to be poor and hence don't qualify for the Government poverty schemes such as subsidized food. The affidavit submitted also claims and I quote "At June 2011 price level, for a family of five, this provisional poverty line would amount to Rs. 4,824 per month in urban areas and Rs. 3,905 per month in rural areas"
The Planning Commission however said that the final limits would be decided after completion of 2011-12 National Sample Survey (NSS). The final report would be available sometime next year, but I doubt the limits are going to change much, as the same commission set the BPL at Rs. 578 per capita per month for the urban poor in its 2004-05 report.
In the same report, they published this table showing the budget for Rs. 578.
So according to this report, to qualify for Government poverty aid and schemes:
- A person can only spend Rs. 25 per month on medicines which is less than a rupee a day. The price of Aspirin is higher than that!!
- For a family of four, the rent allowance (forget about transport) according to this report was Rs. 30 X 4 = Rs. 120 per month. This limit extrapolated to year 2012 would be close to Rs. 200. Can anyone find a decent enough place to stay in Mumbai or Chennai or any other metropolitan city for such a low rent?
- Amount spent on Eggs and meat should be Rs. 30 per month (2012). What is the price of a dozen of eggs? Half a Kilo of Chicken?
- Amount spent on milk per family of four per day should be less than Rs.10!!
- Amount spent on education is less than Rupee a day!!
So why did the Planning Commission set such a ridiculous and unrealistic limits? The reason is obvious, if you lower the poverty limit, the number of people below the poverty line would decrease and the amount of money to be spent on the poor would decrease!!
If you put the Rs. 1,76,000 Crore 2G scam into perspective, I bet there is only word that comes to your mind. Shame