'Three out of 10 in India are poor'

Rangarajan panel dismisses Tendulkar Committee report on estimating poverty

NEW DELHI, India – A panel headed by former Reserve Bank of India governor and former lawmaker Chakravarthi Rangarajan has dismissed the Tendulkar Committee report on estimating poverty and said that the number of poor in India was much higher in 2011-12 at 29.5 per cent of the population, which means that three out of 10 persons are poor.


As per the report submitted by Rangarajan to Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh earlier, persons spending below Rs 47 a day in cities would be considered poor, much above the Rs 33-per day mark suggested by the Suresh Tendulkar Committee. As per the Rangarajan panel estimates, poverty stood at 38.2 per cent in 2009-2010 and go down to 29.5 per cent in 2011-2012.


This is at variance with the Tendulkar methodology under which poverty was estimated at 29.8 per cent in 2009-2010 and declined to 21.9 per cent in 2011-2012. The planning commission's estimates based on the Tendulkar Committee had drawn flak in September 2011, when in an affidavit to the Supreme Court it was stated that households with per capita consumption of more than Rs 33 in urban areas and Rs 27 in rural areas would not be treated as poor.


The Rangarajan Committee was set up last year to review the Tendulkar Committee methodology for estimating poverty and clear the ambiguity over the number of poor in India. As per Rangarajan panel estimates, a person spending less than Rs 1,407 a month (Rs 47/day) would be considered poor in cities, as against the Tendulkar Committee's suggestion of Rs 1,000 a month (Rs 33/day).


In villages, those spending less than Rs 972 a month (Rs 32/day) would be considered poor. This is much higher than Rs 816 a month (Rs 27/day) recommended by the Tendulkar Committee. In absolute terms, the number of poor in India stood at 36.3 crore in 2011-2012, down from 45.4 crore in 2009-2010, as per the Rangarajan panel. However, the Tendulkar Committee had suggested that the number of poor was 35.4 crore in 2009-2010 and 26.9 crore in 2011-2012.


 

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