Millennium Post

Poverty figure uproar: Montek admits flaws in assessing method

In the wake of a major uproar over poverty estimates, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Monday admitted that the method of tabulating the number of poor is ‘abstract’ and said it is being reworked.

He sought to distance himself from the row data released last week according to which poverty figures declined to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12 from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05, saying the figures were based on the assessment of an expert committee.

The current figures are based on the methodology suggested by a panel headed by renowned economist Suresh Tendulkar which factors in spent on health and education besides calorie intake, he said.

‘The Tendulkar (committee methodology) numbers show about 22 per cent as poor (in the country). I am perfectly willing to agree that, that (poverty) line is a bit low,’ he said. About the questions raised over these figures, even within the Congress party, Ahluwalia said, ‘Kapil (Sibal) has said that the present system is abstract and even we should improve it. Even we agree to that.’


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