The number of people below the poverty line in the city is likely to increase, as more than 28 lakh residents of notified and non-notified slums are expected to be included in the BPL list.
So far, officials have compiled a list of 7.12 lakh BPL families, of the 17.88 lakh families in the city. The data already points to 40% people under the poverty line in the city.
The percentage of BPL families is high in zones such as Tondiarpet, Royaouram and Thiru-Vi-Ka Nagar, with 45% under the poverty line. But southern zones such as Adyar have just 30% families below the poverty line. Southern zones such as Sholinganallur and Perungudi have 35% BPL families.
Civic authorities in Chennai have sent a proposal to the government on new parameters for identifying BPL families in the city. The earlier list of 5.4 lakh BPL families was based on data generated in 2004 and parameters like employment and housing. “The new parameters are more inclusive. They will be more people-friendly, helping the poor get the benefits of welfare schemes,” said an official. “The BPL list of 2004 has not been updated in Chennai. It was based on the SJSRY guidelines,” said an official.
SJSRY (Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana) provided gainful employment to the urban unemployed or the underemployed poor by encouraging the setting up of self-employment ventures and wage employment. This programme relied on the creation of suitable community structures, and delivery of inputs under the programme was through urban local bodies.
The new BPL parameters are set to be redefined by the government shortly. From the 67 lakh residents of the 17.88 lakh families in Chennai, the Chennai Corporation has been able to receive just 12.03 lakh filled application forms from families. Many residents refused to get the application forms from Corporation officials.
“The discussion for finalising the parameters for BPL is under way. The number of BPL families is expected to increase. Of the 5.4 lakh BPL families in 2004, the officials have traced just 2.5 lakh families. But new families are expected to be included in the BPL list shortly,” said an official.
The new survey has identified 27,195 street vendors who are likely to be classified as being below the poverty line. But the issue is that some street vendors also earn huge sums of money, have good houses and own vehicles.