Percentage of poor declining

New Delhi: Amid public outcry over pegging urban poverty line at per capita consumption of Rs 32 a day, Planning Commission today said the percentage of poor is declining in the country.

"…the percentage of people who are poor today is declining, whether you use the Tendulkar method or the method used previously," Plan panel Member Arun Maira told reporters on the sidelines of an Assocham function here.

The statement follows an uproar over Plan panel`s recent calculation of poverty line based on the Tendulkar methodology, which also include spending on health and education, besides calorie intake.

In its affidavit before the Supreme Court, the Planning Commission has stated that a person with consumption of up to Rs 32 per day would be considered poor in urban areas. The per capita consumption limit in rural area has been fixed at Rs 26 a day.

The Tendulkar panel, Maira added, "was asked to (suggest) a measurement method for a broad assessment of whether Government programmes are improving situations or not."

He said that poverty is relative concept and comparing today`s poverty with that of the past would be incorrect.

"I believe that even a person who is getting Rs 15,000 (per month) today, is poor. Poverty is a very relative thing too… So, poverty level is also defined by what is happening to the rest of the country", he added.

As per Plan panel`s estimates, based on the Tendulkar Committee`s methodology, 40.74 crore people were poor as on March 1, 2005. India`s population is 121 crore as per the 2011 Census.