A pinch of salt | Business Standard Editorials

A pinch of salt | Business Standard Editorials


7, 2015
This refers to your
editorial “A pinch of salt” (Business Standard, October 7). Poverty in India has all along, since
independence, been a propaganda tool for governments and opposition alike. For
external agencies including World Bank, showing results of their efforts to
reduce poverty is a survival need. As lifestyle of people improve world over,
there has to be change in scales for measuring poverty. Till, say, some thirty
years back, poor in India had certain social security systems and their
expenditure/investment on housing, healthcare and disability costs including
survival costs post-job were not as huge and alarming as are today.
Last independence day,
Prime Minister Modi was talking about poverty eradication as different from
poverty alleviation. If that is the vision for 2025, the attack on poverty has
to be bottom-up. Bluntly put, increase in expenditure on meeting nutrition
needs or food and fuel subsidies are not going to achieve poverty elimination.
For a moment let us forget the difference between $1.90 per day and $2.00 per
day per capita expenditure and the disputes about poverty lines among economists.
Let every local  self government (LSG)
authority, panchayat or municipal/city corporation classify the families in
their sub-divisions or wards into three categories namely poor, middle class
and rich. Once the LSGs are aware of the families which need support like
subsidies for survival, it would be easier for state and central governments to
help. Otherwise, we can continue to clap for voluntary relinquishing of
subsidies   or lowering of poverty estimates by drawing
new poverty lines.

G Warrier
, Mumbai 


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