New Poverty Line: Rs. 32 Per Day in Villages, Rs. 47 In Cities

 Days before the Narendra Modi government's first budget, a panel headed by top economist C Rangarajan has said three out of 10 Indians are poor, defining them as those who can't spend more than Rs.47 a day. The new poverty yardstick has been strongly criticized by several parties.

Mr Rangarajan's panel has pegged the number of poor in India at 29.5 per cent of the population in 2011-12, or 363 million - which is 100 million more than earlier thought.

The panel's report submitted to the government says those who spend more than Rs. 32 a day in rural areas and Rs. 47 in urban areas should not be considered poor.

The new panel's poverty-level is only slightly higher than that recommended by the Suresh Tendulkar Committee, which had triggered a massive row in 2011.

The Tendulkar Committee had said only around 22 per cent of Indians are poor, setting what was attacked as a very low bar for poverty; it said only those who could spend less than Rs. 1,000 a month, or Rs.33 a day in cities can be considered poor. In villages, it prescribed the poverty level as Rs. 27 a day.

Criticising the Rangarajan panel's definition of poverty, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said, "The figures are appalling. This makes neither common sense nor economic sense. Nearly one third of the country is under poverty."

Aam Aadmi Party's Somnath Bharti tweeted, "Good news 4 d poor. NDA has bettered definition of poor over that by UPA. NDA says 32 rs. N UPA said 26 rs. Both hv made mockery of poor!!!"

The Rangarajan panel was set up last year as political outrage forced then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to order a review.

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