People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 39

September 25, 2011

AIDWA Condemns Plan Panelís Submission on BPL Criteria


The All India Democratic Womenís Association (AIDWA) has issued the following statement on September 21:


The AIDWA is deeply shocked at the submission made by the Planning Commission to the Supreme Court on September 10 regarding new BPL criteria. As reported in the papers, the Commission has asserted that if a person's spending exceeds Rs 32 a day in an urban area or Rs 26 a day in rural areas, then the individual would not be counted as poor and be ineligible to access government schemes meant for those below the poverty line.


We condemn this outrageous contention made by the Planning Commission which is aimed at perpetrating further injustice on the poor in our country. The so-called facts based on skewed methodological calculations placed before the  Court are contradicted by several reports of the government itself.  Leave alone offer any relief to the vast mass of poor in India, such measures will jeopardise the very life of the people.  At a time of galloping inflation combined with jobless growth, the Planning Commission, rather than seriously address the problem of extreme poverty, seems set on its goal of further dividing the poor, if not abandoning them altogether. This has serious implications since these criteria are likely to form the basis of allocations for the Twelfth Plan.


The AIDWA condemns this strategy of the Planning Commission and demands that it re-examine its poverty estimates forthwith, along with the basis of their calculations. This is imperative to ensure inclusive coverage and to arrive at a meaningful criterion for fixing the number of those considered to be below the poverty line. The present submission in the SC will only further deny a large section of the poor their legitimate rights, including their right to basic food security.


The AIDWA calls upon all its units to firmly oppose the fixation of the new BPL criterion and related measures. We reiterate our demand for universal coverage of the public distribution system.