Puducherry

Revisit poverty alleviation schemes in Puducherry: former MP

M. Ramadoss  

Former Member of Parliament M. Ramadass has asked the territorial administration to revisit its poverty alleviation schemes in the wake of Niti Aayog’s latest report giving the Union Territory a high ranking in poverty alleviation.

In a statement, he said the Multidimensional Poverty Index released by Niti Aayog has ranked the UT second among States and the UTs with a poverty ratio of 1. 72%. This means, less than only 2% of UT’s population was under below poverty, he said.

Also read | 50% population of Bihar 'multidimensionally poor'

The latest estimate of the UT’s poverty rate was compatible with the earlier assessments made by the Puducherry Vision: 2020 (published in 2003), Puducherry State Development Report (2010), Annual Sectoral Document of Planning and Research Department (2020) and CAG Report (2018-19). These reports too had found a rapid decline in poverty ratio, he said.

“Unfortunately, the Government of Puducherry today presents an incredibly contrary picture of poverty in Puducherry. It works on the assumption that more than half of the population (50.17%) are poor and in the case of some schemes, the entire population is considered poverty stricken like in rain relief,” he said.

Ration cards

As on March 31, 2020, the UT has a total ration card of 3, 44, 718. Of the total numbers, 1,78,180 are red ration card holders (Below Poverty Line household). The total number of red ration card implied that 50.17% of the households (of the estimated population of 16 lakhs) are living under below poverty line.

“During 2019-20, 1,71,332 heads of households received financial assistance under Direct Benefit Transfer scheme. The huge variation between 1.72 of Niti Aayog and 50.17 of the Government of Puducherry is inexplicable. Poverty ratio of 50.17 , takes Puducherry back to 1983 or contemporarily Puducherry and Bihar sail in the same boat of poverty both of which are untenable,” the economist-turned- politician said.

Also read | Lockdown in Puducherry extended till December 15

Possibly, the lure of the people – rich and poor, employed and unemployed, government servants and other employees, migrants and natives – to enjoy the benefits of Government schemes seemed to have influenced the surveyors to enrol them as red ration card holders, he said.

“The vote bank politics of Puducherry also seems to have aided the process of inflating red ration card holders,” Mr. Ramadass said.

The UT has made remarkable strides in all parameters. The growth of State Domestic Product is around 12% ; per capita income is ₹2.32.057, the literacy rate is above 90%, he said.

“With all these accomplishments, the poverty ratio of 50.17 is just incredible. Inflating the figure of poverty ratio and implementing anti-poverty schemes to benefit people in the comfort zone is a blatant fraud on the exchequer.

A Government with a debt burden of ₹9,000 crore paying ₹2.5 crore interest every day and knocking at the doors of the Central Government with a begging bowl could not and should not afford this luxury of wasting public money on undeserving individuals, he said.

The Government should identify the real beneficiaries and stop wasteful expenditure, he added.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 3:23:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/revisit-poverty-alleviation-schemes-in-puducherry-former-mp/article37908271.ece

Next Story