Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday dared members of the Union Planning Commission to make a living with Rs. 28, the sum the Commission has fixed for being above the poverty line.
Speaking to journalists at his Lambi constituency, at the end of the third day of his ‘thanks giving' tour, he said that by declaring that anyone with a daily consumption expenditure of Rs. 28.35 in urban areas and Rs. 22.42 in rural areas was above the poverty line, the Planning Commission had made a mockery of the poor. It was unfortunate that the Commission had said people earning more than Rs. 28 a day in rural areas were rich.
Mr. Badal said it had once again proved that the Congress-led UPA government, which claims to be a champion of the common man, was insensitive to the problems he faced. Those who were not acquainted with the ground reality framed such policies, which further added to the woes of the poor. Owing to the runaway inflation during the UPA rule, it had become difficult for anyone to manage his household. “The people who fix such caps are hardly aware of the spiralling prices of basic commodities, so they play such cruel jokes on the countrymen.”
Replying to a question, Mr. Badal said the Akali Dal-BJP government was committed to the development of the State. All cities would get a major facelift, and basic amenities would be augmented by 2015.
He reiterated that the ruling coalition would carry through every promise it had made in the manifesto. Allaying apprehensions that the free distribution of cycles to schoolgirls under the Mai Bhago Vidya Scheme would be discontinued, he said that it would rather be extended to more students.