Rural development spending not limited to BPL: Ramesh


New Delhi : Poverty line is not a defining benchmark for the government’s rural development programmes as only nine percent of the total spending on rural development is linked to it, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said Monday.

Support TwoCircles

“Out of the Rs.100,000 crore, only nine percent of our spending on rural development is BPL (below poverty line) oriented,” Ramesh said, addressing a press conference at Yojana Bhawan here.

He said most of the government’s programmes on rural development were “universal” and were not limited to the people below poverty line.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who also addressed the press conference, said social security programmes of the government had never been exclusively linked to the poverty line.

Referring to the contentious Rs.32 a day criteria for defining people below the poverty line, Ahluwalia said it was just a categorisation and it did not mean that people just above that level were having comfort level of living.

The Planning Commission has been criticised for its affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that the poverty line for urban areas could be provisionally placed at Rs.965 per capita per month (about Rs.32 per day). The poverty line for rural areas was set at Rs.781 per capita per month (about Rs.26 per day).

Ahluwalia said the Planning Commission was not trying to understate poverty through that affidavit.

“Some allegations are made that the Planning Commission is trying to understate the poverty, which is not true,” he said.