Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said the Centre should constitute an identification commission for proper survey of BPL families in the State.
Speaking at the Bihar Poverty Alleviation Summit organized by the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Kumar said that while official figures suggested that 41 per cent of Bihar’s population lived below poverty line, the actual number of BPL families was around 60 per cent.
Mr. Kumar stated that there was discrepancy between the Central survey, which pegged the number of BPL families in the State at 65 lakhs and the State survey, which said that the number was more than 1 crore.
“When we carried out a survey, we found that the number of BPL families was around 1.5 crores, ” said Mr. Kumar, adding that the proportion of BPL families was much more in proportion to the resources at hand.
Mr. Kumar urged for direct cash transfers by opening bank accounts in recipients’ name, citing that cash disbursement for State schemes such as distribution of cycles to girls was already following this method.
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that while there was no unique poverty measurement method available, a Central committee “was looking into the issue and would submit thereport by November-end.”
Reiterates special status
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister reiterated the demand for Special Category recognition to Bihar. “If one does keep parameters for a Special Category status, then you will find that Bihar fulfils 99 of those parameters. There is consensus in Bihar that it is eligible not only for a special package, but special category recognition as well,” remarked Mr. Kumar.
Dr. Ahluwalia said that this would be considered only after a mid-term appraisal of the State’s performance, adding that this decision was “not in the hands of the Planning Commission, and that only the National Development Council had the authority to grant such a status.”