Congress leaders continue to put their foot in the mouth over the poverty line issue.
Congress leader Rasheed Masood today claimed that "one can eat well" for as less as Rs. 5 in the nation's capital. This comment, coming a day after Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar said that one can have a full meal for Rs.12 in Mumbai, has opened floodgates of criticism.
While Babbar's comments were dubbed as "laughable" by the BJP, Masood's comment drew extreme reactions from the opposition.
"The government is just trying to perpetuate poverty," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
He said that the government was happy to have a Rs.34 poverty line. He added, "While rolling down the benchmark, they are trying to roll people out of BPL (Below Poverty Line) category, depriving them of welfare benefits. This is an anti-poor statement."
Senior BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said, "These are tactics of diverting attention from other issues. They are trying to reduce the number of poor."
Raj Babbar on Wednesday said that one could have a meal in Mumbai for Rs.12.
"Even today in Mumbai city, I can have a full meal at Rs.12. No no, not vada paav (snack). So much of rice, daal-saambhar and with that some vegetables are also mixed," Babbar said.
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The statements are being seen as desperate move by the Congress party who are trying to defend the national poverty line announced by the Planning commission.
The Planning Commission on tuesday said that the poverty ratio in the country had declined to 21.9% in 2011-12 from 37.2% in 2004-05 on account of increase in per capita consumption.
Using the Tendulkar methodology, the commission estimated the national poverty line for rural areas at Rs.816 per capita per month and for urban areas at Rs.1,000 per capita per month for 2011-12.
This would mean that the people whose daily consumption of goods and services exceed Rs.33.33 in cities and Rs.27.20 in villages are not poor.