Live on Rs.32 a day or quit, NGOs taunts plan panel


New Delhi: Lambasting the Planning Commission for their views on the definition of the poverty line, the Right to Food, a group of NGOs, Thursday challenged the plan panel’s members to survive on Rs.32 a day or resign.

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In an affidavit to the Supreme Court last week, the commission had held that those spending in excess of Rs. 32 a day in urban areas or Rs. 26 a day in villages were not below the poverty line.

In a strongly worded letter to the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the NGOs said: “You (Ahluwalia) need to reflect more on the fact that during your stewardship of the Planning Commission, India has fallen further behind neighboring and poorer (in per capita income) Bangladesh, in terms of most of the human development indicators.”

“If Rs.26 for rural areas and Rs.32 for urban areas per capita expenditure was ‘adequate’, then it is not clear to us that why Planning Commission members are paid up to one hundred and fifteen times the amount,” added the letter.

Questioning the expertise of the Planning Commission, the campaign further said that it needed a “reality check” and needed to spend more time in slums and villages.

“It seems to require a reality check; perhaps spending more time in the villages and slums of this country would have achieved that,” said the letter.