Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Economic and Social Development

Economic and Social Development

Poverty rate declines from 37.2% to 32%

Year Poverty 2009 − 10 32% 2004 − 5 37.2

By: Preliminary data worked out by the Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen

Based on: Based on the formula suggested by the Tendulkar Committee

The Tendulkar Committee had suggested that poverty be estimated on the basis of consumption based on the cost of living index instead of caloric intake. It said that the basket of goods should also include services such as health and education. The new poverty line, as suggested by the Tendulkar Committee, is different for rich and poor States, and for rural and urban areas within a State.

Expert Groups for Estimating Poverty and BPL Families

Tendulkar Committee Report to Review the Methodology for Estimation of Poverty

The Planning Commission constituted an Expert Group in December 2005 under the chairmanship of Professor Suresh D. Tendulkar to review the methodology for estimation of poverty. The Expert Group submitted its report in December 2009. While acknowledging the multidimensional nature of poverty, the Expert Group recommended moving away from anchoring poverty lines to the calorie-intake norm to adopting MRP based estimates of consumption expenditure as the basis for future poverty lines and MRP equivalent of the urban poverty line basket (PLB) corresponding to 25.7per cent urban headcount rati-as the new reference PLB for rural areas. On the basis of the above methodology, the all-India rural poverty headcount rati-for 2004 − 05 was estimated at 41.8 per cent, urban at 25.7 per cent, and all-India at 37.2 per cent. It may, however, be mentioned that the Tendulkar Committee's estimates are not strictly comparable to the official poverty estimates because of different methodologies.

As has been indicated in the Mid Term Appraisal of the Eleventh Five Year Plan, the revised poverty lines for 2004 − 05 as recommended by the Tendulkar Committee have been accepted by the Planning Commission. The

Tendulkar Committee has specifically pointed out that the upward revision in the percentage of rural poverty in 2004 − 05, resulting from the application of a new rural poverty line should not be interpreted as implying that the extent of poverty has increased over time. These estimates, as reported by the Committee, clearly show that whether we use the old method or the new, the percentage of BPL population has declined by about the same magnitude.

Saxena Committee Report to Review the Methodology for Conducting BPL Census in Rural Areas

An Expert Group headed by Dr N C Saxena was constituted by the Ministry of Rural Development to recommend a suitable methodology for identification of BPL families in rural areas. The Expert Group submitted its report in August 2009 and recommended doing away with score-based ranking of rural households followed for the BPL census 2002. The Committee has recommended automatic exclusion of some privileged sections and automatic inclusion of certain deprived and vulnerable sections of society, and a survey for the remaining population to rank them on a scale of 10.

Automatic Exclusion

Households that fulfil any of the following conditions will not be surveyed for BPL census:

  • Families who own double the land of the district average of agricultural land per agricultural household if partially or wholly irrigated (three times if completely unirrigated).

  • Families that have three or four wheeled motorized vehicles, such as, jeeps and SUVs.

  • Families that have at least one mechanized farm equipment, such as, tractors, power tillers, threshers, and harvesters.

  • Families that have any person who is drawing a salary of over Rs. 10, 000 per month in a non-government/private organization or is employed in government on a regular basis with pensionary or equivalent benefits.

  • Income tax payers.

Automatic Inclusion

Survey of the remaining rural households is to be conducted and scores given depending upon the different socio-economic parameters recommended by the committee. The Ministry of Rural Development is in the process of conducting the pilot studies and participatory rural appraisal (PRA) exercises to fine tune the methodology. The following would be compulsorily included in the BPL list:

  • Designated primitive tribal groups.

  • Designated most discriminated against SC groups, called Maha Dalit groups.

  • Single women-headed households.

  • Households with a disabled person as breadwinner.

  • Households headed by a minor.

  • Destitute households which are dependent predominantly on alms for survival.

  • Homeless households.

  • Households that have a bonded labourer as member.

Expert Group

SR Hashim Committee on the Methodology for Identification of BPL Families in Urban Areas

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) is the nodal Ministry for issue of guidelines to identify BPL families in urban areas. Till now, n-uniform methodology was being followed by the States/UTs to identify the urban poor. An Expert Group under the Chairmanship of Professor S. R. Hashim has been constituted by the Planning Commission to recommend the methodology for identification of BPL families in urban areas. The Expert Group is expected to submit its report shortly.

Constitution of a National Data Bank

The Government has said that one of its decisions on the follow-up action on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee was to set up a National Data Bank (NDB). A National Data Bank, to compile data on the various socioeconomic and basic amenities parameters for socio-religious communities, has been set up in the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation.

National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMW)
  • With effect from 1.4. 2011 the National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMW) is raised to Rs. 115/-per day.

  • In order to have a uniform wage structure and to reduce the disparity in minimum wages across the country, the concept of National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMW) was mooted.

  • The NFLMW per day has been revised from time to time primarily taking int-account the increase in the Consumer Price Index Number for Industrial Workers.

  • Since the NFLMW is a non-statutory measure, the State Governments are persuaded to fix/revise minimum wages in such a way that in none of the scheduled employments, the minimum wage is less than NFLMW.

  • The last time NFLMW revised was on November 1, 2009. It moved up by Rs. 20 per day to Rs. 100 from Rs. 80 then.

Packages for Development of North Eastern States

Government has announced a number of special packages/programs for the socio-economic development of the North East Region with a major emphasis on improving infrastructure, including connectivity. Major programs include the following:

  • Special Accelerated Road Development Program

  • Extension of rail network

  • BTC (Bod-Territorial Council) Package

  • Socio-economic Infrastructure Development Fund (SIDF)

  • Non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources

  • Other NEC (North Eastern Council) efforts

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India