NITI Aayog plays safe on poverty | Business Standard News

NITI Aayog plays safe on poverty | Business Standard News


safe on poverty

Although the thought behind the
stand taken by NITI Aayog not to estimate its own poverty line is laudable, there
is a need to have a nationally accepted method to arrive at poverty line- even
if the line for different geographical regions within India may vary- and that
method having the sanction of NITI Aayog and GOI. This is because several
government schemes for poverty alleviation(now poverty elimination) relate the
eligibility criteria to poverty line.
comparisons, fear of loss of image if the number of those below poverty line
goes up during a particular period, total disconnect of poverty line or
comparable indicator for different countries with purchasing power parity and
several other constraints make poverty estimation highly subjective and
sometimes prejudiced in India. Economists and consultants help out policy
makers in such situations by creating confusion with figures.
Saumitra Chaudhuri’s
argument that if poverty is measured in dollar terms, the line can be permanent
does not stand reason as any measurement in expenditure terms need to factor in
inflation. Having said that, there cannot be a better method than the one based
on spending capacity.
Once NITI Aayog decides
on the poverty line for the purpose of extending benefits under central
schemes, some agency should estimate and publish information about Indians
living below poverty line and proportion of the population with (a) capacity to
spend double the expenditure ceiling for poverty line (b) capacity to spend
four times the ceiling (c) capacity to spend eight times the ceiling and (d) others.

M G Warrier,


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