The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday alleged that the ongoing debate on poverty has shown that the United Progressive Alliance government is “insensitive” and demanded that a meeting of Chief Ministers and all political parties be held to discuss the matter and the problems related to it.
“The government has been completely insensitive on this matter... There are so many versions of what the poverty line should be... This is a grave situation and there is complete disarray. How long will it take to decide how many people are poor,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
The Planning Commission had earlier said that all those earning more than Rs. 32 per day in urban and Rs. 26 per day in rural areas do not fall under the Below Poverty Line category.
Charging that this government has made “enough mockery” of the poor, Ms. Sitharaman said the Manmohan Singh dispensation is not able to decide whether to follow the criteria set by the Tendulkar Committee (37 per cent population BPL), N.C. Saxena Committee (50 per cent), Arjun Sengupta Committee (77 per cent), the World Bank (41 per cent) report, among others.
“The BJP demands convening of a meeting of Chief Ministers and all political parties on this issue,” Ms. Sitharaman said, adding that this would make clear what the confusions are in the 600-odd districts in the country.
She maintained that this problem could not be left in a limbo especially as the government seems to be making attempts to buy time.
Ms. Sitharaman insisted that this was even more important as the government “periodically and repeatedly” keeps talking about a Food Security Bill, the intended beneficiaries of which will be the poor.