New Panel to review poverty estimates!

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is revisiting both the methodology used to calculate the number of poor and the estimates of poverty with the intention of eventually linking them to its entitlement programmes, after coming under fire for the way it measured indigence.

The panel will suggest a methodology to update the consumption-based poverty line using the new consumer price indices launched by the Central Statistical Office (CSO), review alternative methods of estimating poverty and recommend how it should be linked to eligibility for drawing benefits from the government’s public welfare programmes, minister of state for planning Ashwani Kumar said.

Barely two years after an expert group headed by the late Suresh Tendulkar submitted its report on a new methodology for estimating poverty, the government admitted in March that it wasn’t in line with the ground reality and said it would evolve a new approach.

A poverty estimate released by the Planning Commission in March showed India almost doubled the pace at which it reduced poverty in the five years to 2009-10, moving 52 million people above the poverty line. However, the Planning Commission’s new poverty estimates, which drew the poverty line for rural India at Rs22.40 per day and Rs28.60 for urban India, invited sharp criticism from the opposition.



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