Expert group to re-look at poverty nos

New Delhi: Amid demand for removal of its Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia for pegging the poverty line at Rs 28.65 daily per capita consumption for cities, the Planning Commission is likely to constitute an expert group to re-evaluate its claim that poverty has declined in India.

"The Commission is likely to shortly constitute an expert group for reevaluating the poverty numbers and the methodology used to arrive at the number," a source said.

As per the Commission`s estimates the poverty ratio has been pegged at 29.8 per cent in 2009-10, down from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05. These are based on the daily per capita consumption of Rs 28.65 in urban cities and Rs 22.42 in rural areas.

Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh had sought removal of Ahluwalia from the post of Deputy Chairman of the Commission fixing poverty line so low. "The Prime Minister is responsible as he is the Chairman of the Commission. He should remove the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission from the post," Singh had said on Wednesday.

The Commission`s estimates faced criticism in Parliament for its description of poor and resultant fall in people below the poverty line. The Opposition parties, including BJP, blamed the government for making a "dishonest" attempt to conceal reality through "fraudulent" estimates.

However, Ahluwalia had said that there is serious discrepancy in NSSO data and national accounts which led to pegging of such a low poverty line. The Commission on Wednesday released poverty data based on the 66th round of the National Sample Survey (2009-10) data on household consumer expenditure survey. The national accounts, which provide data for national income, is prepared by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).