New Delhi: Amid strong criticism of the Planning Commission pegging the poverty line at Rs 28.65 daily per capita consumption for cities, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said a fresh group has been set up to devise a new method to assess the number of poor in the country.
Singh also favoured a multi-layered approach to assess poverty estimates and pointed out that the socio-economic and caste-economic census was being conducted across the country that would throw up new data.
"We need a multi-layered approach to assess poverty estimates. We have set up a group to devise a new method to assess poverty," Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function to give away this year's Padma Awards.
As per the Planning Commission's estimates, the poverty ratio has been pegged at 29.8 percent in 2009-10, down from 37.2 percent in 2004-05. These are based on the daily per capita consumption of Rs 28.65 in cities and Rs 22.42 in rural areas.
Singh said the Tendulkar committee report was not all inclusive.
He pointed out that the earlier the methodology to arrive at poverty estimates on the basis of calorie intake was being followed over 30 years.
According to the Tendulkar Committee's methodology, the poverty line is fixed by factoring in the money spent on health and education besides calorie intake.
The Planning Commission today announced it will constitute an experts' group soon to revisit the methodology for estimating poverty amid demand for removal of its Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia for pegging the poverty line at such a low level.
"We believe that there is need to revisit the methodology for poverty estimation," Minister for Planning Ashwani Kumar replied when asked whether government is dumping its latest poverty data.
"The government had taken a decision to set up a technical group to revisit the methodology for estimating poverty in a manner which is consistent with current reality," Kumar told reporters.