India’s Planning Commission, in charge of assessing the country’s present economy and calculating for the future, has told the Supreme Court that 25 rupees a day — roughly 50 cents — is “adequate” for villagers to spend on food, education and health care, according to BBC News.Even for city dwellers, who were allotted a few more rupees per day in the report (equaling 62 cents), this assessment falls well below the international poverty line of US$ 1.25/day.
The Supreme Court had asked for updated figures from the Commission in the face of inflation in India, which at a 13-month high of 9.78 per cent.
Figures posted by DaijiWorld.com say that on 50 cents a day, a family can spend 11 cents on cereals, 5 cents on milk, 4 cents on vegetables and 3 cents on oil. The rest must be distributed in shelter, medicine and if possible education.
If those numbers seem ridiculously low — well, they are. Critics of the panel’s report say that the Indian government is trying to lower the number of people under the poverty line, not by improving their lives but by changing the definition of “poverty.”
There is no exact figure for the number of India’s 1.2 billion people in poverty, but a 2005 World Bank estimate put it at 41 per cent.
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