The Planning Commission which was recently forced to go back on its stand of a Rs 32 poverty line after protests from the Right to Food campaign, is facing a fresh challenge. The campaign activists led by Jean Dreze and others including NAC members have accused the Rural Development Ministry and the Planning Commission of achieving the purpose of the Rs 32 poverty line through the ongoing Social and Economic Caste Census.
The census was able to exclude 67 per cent of people as non BPL in a village where the activists did a mock survey. the activists would descend on Delhi with villagers from different states where the census is on to prove the point that it is as unfair as the poverty line. Dreze on Monday said that finding a place in the BPL category was next to impossible given the 13 point exclusion criteria that is followed.
He said that the method of identification of poor would jeopardise the food security Bill itself. I appeal that the food Bill is held over for some time until this census is sorted out. Now you are putting the cart before the horse, he said .
The Food Security Bill draft by the Food Ministry provides for a 25 per cent exclusion of rural citizens from the food scheme. Out of the rest people would be categorised as BPL and non BPL.
As per the SECC 13 point exclusion criteria, possession of even one of these is enough to keep a person out of BPL category, even if he has all criteria for automatic inclusion or even three to four of the 10 odd deprivation indicators.