“The Planning Commission (of India) recently told the Supreme Court that poverty line for urban and rural areas could be provisionally placed at Rs.965 per capita per month (Rs.32 per day) and Rs.781 per capita per month (Rs.26 per day) respectively.” That was a quote from today’s Times of India. Obviously the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commision and good friend of the Prime Minister, Shri Monetk Singh Ahluwalia has not applied his mind on the information his department has forwarded to the court. Can a family of two adults and a child – the ideal family according to the govt. – have any life on Rs. 52 a day? Even with a hut on a puramboke land, just two pairs of cloths for each, kerosene stove and travel by foot, not to speak of incidental medical and educational expenses, that would be an impossibility. Not surprisingly Indian govt’s poverty line has provoked criticism from across the country. Some people have thought it good to impart some practical wisdom by demanding Mrs. Ahluwalia to demonstrate that life is possible with that kind of daily earning. One gentleman villager from J&K Shri. Darvinder Singh has gone a step ahead and mailed Rs. 26 by demand draft to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is the Chairman of the Planning Commission and the Deputy Chairman Mr. Ahluwalia requesting them to live a day with that money alone.
Our learned governing economists should recall that the United States of America whose economic supremacy they want to emulate considers any of its citizen earning less than the dollar equivalent of Rupees 1 lakh per year as poor. While we don’t expect our acclaimed economists to take that as a new poverty line in India but we do hope that they would find a level at which human beings can sustain themselves as humans but not as cattle or dogs.