The Planning Commission’s data on poverty is a conspiracy of the Congress against the poor to deprive them the benefits of Below Poverty Line schemes, the Bharatiya Janata Party has alleged.

“The latest report showing a reduction in the number of people below the poverty line is a conspiracy of the Congress. This is the Congress mindset against the poor,” BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Prakash Javadekar told journalists here on Wednesday.

These poverty figures did not reflect the price rise. It was just a “political gimmick” to show more people were now out of poverty by lowering the benchmark. “We challenge the Congress leaders to show how one can survive on Rs. 34 a day... They want to show more people are rich by changing the definition,” he said. “The BJP denounces the anti-poor strategy of the Congress. With an earning of Rs. 34 a day, nobody comes out of poverty and the severity of poverty does not go.”

The government had hurriedly presented a “false and rosy picture” despite knowing well the findings of the Arjun Sengupta Committee, which had stated that 70 per cent of the people lived below the poverty line, he said.

On Tuesday, the Planning Commission said the number of people living below the poverty line had shrunk in both urban and rural areas. The number of people living below the poverty line had shrunk to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12 from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 on account of increase in per capita consumption, it said.

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