Poverty figure uproar-flaws in assessing method

In the wake of a major uproar over poverty estimates, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today admitted that the method of tabulating the number of poor is “abstract” and said it is being reworked.

Ahluwalia sought to distance himself from the controversial data released last week according to which poverty figures declined to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12 from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05, saying the figures were based on the assessment of an expert committee.

“The Tendulkar (committee methodology) numbers show about 22 per cent as poor (in the country). I am perfectly willing to agree that, that (poverty) line is a bit low,” he told reporters.
About the questions raised over these figures, even within the Congress party, Ahluwalia said, “Kapil (Sibal) has said that the present system is abstract and even we should improve it. Even we agree to that.”
The Planning Commission deputy chief said the new methodology being worked upon will be based on the Rangarajan Committee which is expected to submit its report by middle of next.



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