Mar 20, 2012

Behind Poverty lines [79/365]

Roti, Kappada aur Makaan (Food, Clothing and Shelter)
Man's three basic and fundamental rights.
Secure these for your citizens and everything else will fall in place.

Today, a report headlined proclaimed how 5 crore people have moved beyond the poverty line.
Last year, the commission became the stock of much ridicule when it declared how a person cannot be below the poverty line if they earned Rs32 (About half a dollar) or more. Apparently, the department is made up of people who are living proof that evolution can go in reverse.
The new report puts the poverty line at Rs 22.43 for rural areas and Rs28.65 for those fortunate to live in cities. (The encouraging news here)

Now, I don't have anything against the poor becoming richer by a few rupees. Heck! I would be the first to pop the bubbly if the yawning gap between the have's and the have-not's are bridged.
But I smell a rat here.
As Indians, we have lived long enough under the unsightly shadow of being called a 'developing nation'.
So, a headline like this makes an euphoric read. The World Bank and all the donors of our poor, hungry and fly-infested children who will die if we don't contribute generously will be happy.
But the fact is far from the truth. Beyond the headline, it is clear to see how this report is a perfect example of unimaginative people who are about as smart as a bait.

Sample this:
Despite the fact that the commission has reduced the minimum wages required to be classified as under poverty, the number of poor have increased in Bihar, UP, Chattisgarh, Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Meghalaya. Interestingly, so has naxalites and maoists in these regions. Not good news at all.

But who can live on Rs32 today? Maybe in the 18th Century where an an Anna paise took you far.
By releasing such a report, the committee has become a farce and a slap on the face of all those families struggling to live on Rs 1000 ($18) a month.
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