Shoumojit Banerjee

Should not vary with data presented by States: Nitish Kumar

Appoint a committee to identify BPL families

Act procedures must be clearly delineated

Patna: In the wake of deliberations over the Food Security Bill, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Monday the Centre should take the responsibility to verify the number of below poverty line (BPL) families in the country.

Speaking to journalists after his recent return from Delhi, Mr. Kumar cautioned that the Centre would have a tough time in implementing the Act if the number of BPL families identified by them turned out to be at odds with the data presented by the States.

“During the course of discussions, I have put forth my suggestion that the number of the BPL families was not correct according to the Centre's estimates,” Mr. Kumar said, remarking that the Centre had set up two committees — the Saxena and Tendulkar panels — to suggest new poverty line methodologies.

“In Bihar's case, the number of BPL families as suggested by the Centre is 65 lakhs, whereas according to a survey conducted by us, the number of such families in the State is 1.4 crores,” said Mr. Kumar.

Mr. Kumar said the Act procedures must be clearly delineated or else there would be a lot of problems in getting the Act off the ground.

Maoist menace

On the operation against the Maoist rebels in Bihar, Mr. Kumar said that while police operations would continue, the need of the hour was to strengthen democracy at the grassroots level so as to restore the faith of the people.