Our planning commission still doesn’t get it I think. They insist that a citizen in India should join the group of privileged or the rich if they earn 28 Rs per day! Guess the only way to make them see the truth is to force them to show it to the nation. Let our media also have a field day in airing their woes live to the nation while they try subsisting at 28 a day for at least a month.
It was for this same reason that two youngsters, Tushar Vashisht and Mathew Cherian tried this experiment.
While they were at it:
Hardly a day went by during the past month, in which we didn’t think of food. And no, it wasn’t because we couldn’t get our minds off of planning the first meal we would have at the end of our experiment. Rather, it was because, food was the largest component of our budget at both Rs. 100/day (50%) and Rs. 32/day (68%).States like Kerala had a well set up PDS system much earlier than the rest of the country.
It is well known that Kerala had one of the best run and most effective PDS networks in India. Prior to the introduction of targeting, Kerala was the only state in India with near-universal coverage of the PDS.
If these youngsters had a tough time in a state like Kerala, it would be even tougher in other states. Since APL (Above poverty line) and BPL(Below poverty line) is fixed as per the planning commission’s figure of poverty line, the poor of India is yet again squeezed.
Planning Commission on Monday further reduced poverty line to Rs.28.65 per capita daily consumption in cities and Rs.22.42 in rural areas, scaling down India's poverty ratio to 29.8 per cent in 2009-10, the estimates which are likely to raise the hackles of civil society.It is not as though India does not have enough to distribute through it’s PDS scheme but this very important “Poverty Line” determines who shall get it, even when half of it rots away.
According to information revealed from a RTI petition filed in Delhi, the FCI has spent crores of rupees over the past decade in just disposing off the rotten foods lying in the go-downs.Will those at the Planning Commission, specially Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia dare to take up this experiment?