Monday, October 3, 2011

BPL criterion will not be used to restrict the reach of welfare prog: Govt

Central govt and planning commission on Monday made it clear that poverty line defination will not be used to restrict the benifits of various welfare programmes only to BPL families. 

Distancing itself from the controversial Rs 32 poverty cut off limit, the Planning Commission o Monday said a new methodology will be worked out to determine entitlements of beneficiaries under various schemes for poor.
A Socio-Economic and Caste-Economic census was also underway to survey all rural households to collect information about socio-economic indicators that is expected to be completed by January next year.
An expert committee will be appointed to ensure that the new methodology is consistent with the provisions of the Food Security Bill as it finally emerges, a joint statement issued by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said.
The current weaknesses in identification of households under BPL will be corrected by determining eligibility for the priority category under a new scientific Socio-Economic and Caste-Economic Census underway.
Addressing a joint press conference, Ahluwalia said the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court was based on methodology for computing poverty suggested by the Tendulkar Committee.
"To summarise, there is no reason to fear that the Tendulkar committee poverty result in exclusion of families otherwise deserving special assistance," Ahluwalia said.
While making it clear that the Tendulkar poverty line will remain a relevant reference point on efforts to take more and more people above poverty line, eligibility for subsidised food and indeed other benefits will be widened to a much larger population delinked from the poverty line, he said.
In its recent affidavit that came under all round attack, the Commission had said that persons consuming items worth more than Rs 32 per day in urban areas (Rs 26 in rural areas) are not poor.

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