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Revised BPL benchmark an insult and betrayal of poor: BJP

A Planning Commission report said a person earning up to Rs32 per day in urban and Rs25 in rural areas is not entitled to BPL benefits.

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BJP Wednesday dubbed as an "insult and betrayal" of the poor the Planning Commission report that said a person earning up to Rs32 per day in urban and Rs25 in rural areas is not entitled to BPL benefits.

"BJP strongly condemns the government affidavit in the Supreme Court deciding the number of poor people living below the poverty line. This is an insult to the poor, who are suffering because of raging inflation and corruption," party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

The opposition alleged that though the government has been talking about a Food Security Bill, it was not serious about fighting poverty and was running away from its responsibility.

The government had said in the affidavit that the revised benchmark for fixing those falling into BPL category is an earning of Rs32 per day. Under the new definition, Rs965 per month in urban areas and Rs781 per month in rural areas (at Rs 25 per day) is the criteria fixed for BPL.

"This is a betrayal of the poor and is akin to rubbing salt on their wounds.... We would like to know which is that Congress shop where you get such cheap foodgrains (to survive with such low income). Which shop gives grains which would provide the mandatory 2100 calories required by a person," Javadekar said.

The BJP also pointed out that the need for shelter by a person has not been taken into account while deciding this criteria.

"Does government want everybody to be on the footpath? This is the worst insult inflicted upon the poor. The economist PM has failed to manage inflation and give justice to the poor," Javadekar said.

BJP threw a challenge to the government to discuss with it the affidavit at any forum.

"The government is changing the goal post.... Instead of bringing the poor above the poverty line, it has chosen a way to disregard the facts and suppress the number of the poor. This is not removal of poverty but derecognizing the poor itself. The BJP will protest this anti-poor stand of the Congress-led UPA government at all available forums," Javadekar said.

He further alleged that this was total abdication of duties and declaration of bankruptcy by the government.

"It is bankruptcy of ideas and an affidavit is a testimony of abject failure of anti-poverty programmes," Javadekar said.

The opposition maintained that Rs32 per day amounts to less than a dollar a day and argued that the poor still go hungry in this country and remain undernourished.

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