Expenditure estimates- A mockery of poverty

Posted in Finance Articles, Total Reads: 3172 , Published on 01 October 2011

1 litre of milk- Rs. 20

Vegetables- Rs. 20

Rent - Rs. 70

Cooking gas - Rs. 14


Workplace travel - Rs. 30

Electricity and mobile - Rs. 30

Lunch and tea at office - Rs. 20

Medical cost - Rs. 10 day

Total expenditure per day: Rs. 214

Above is the list of "necessary" expenditures which an average person in India has to do daily in order to simply survive. Food, travel, medical expenses, electricity etc are simply the basic needs of the people. And in poverty stricken country like India, surviving every day is a challenge.

And over and above that, the Indian Government comes up with sarcastic estimates which define the 'below poverty line' criteria. Read this.

Anyone having an expenditure below Rs.32 in urban areas is poor.

Anyone having an expenditure below Rs.26 in rural areas is poor.

How can such estimates be justified? How can the govt expect people to survive in a meager Rs.30 per day when inflation is at a all time high? Even if the luxuries of a person are removed and only the bare necessities of survival are considered, even then the above mentioned stats are baseless.

These estimates generated are totally based on Government schemes like Public distribution system, free education, free medical treatment etc. But the fact is that all these schemes have majorly failed as far as implementation is concerned. All the above mentioned schemes for the "aam aadmi" seem only good on paper, but none of the benefits reach the poor.

Stats such as the expenditure estimates put forth by the government shows their desperate efforts to show to the citizens that things are improving. By showing the below poverty line estimates as approximately Rs. 30 per day, the figures of BPL population seems within control at around 35. However, the reality shows a different picture altogether. More than 60 of the rural population and more than 45 of the urban population struggle for a decent life. They face problems everyday like sanitation, cleanliness, food, shelter, clothing etc.

Even World Bank has set norms for defining poverty. According to the World Bank, the minimum daily expenditure threshold for determining the poverty line is $1.25 per day i.e. approximately Rs.60 per day. In US, the poverty line is determined if a family of four earns approximately 22000 per annum, which according to the latest Indian estimates might seem a luxury.

Earlier, the amount of calorie intake was considered to be the relevant parameter for determining the poverty. For the rural areas, 2100 calories per person per day was kept as the threshold and for the urban areas it was kept as 2700 calories. However, this too was a considerably wrong way of estimating the poor people as it did not take into consideration education, health, food etc.

Every election, the people of the largest democracy of the world elect their candidates with a hope that their future would change for the good. On one side the growth story of the booming Indian economy is glorified with its fast paced GDP growth. And on the other side news of scams, corruption etc rocks the nation. But those who are left out in this battle of right and wrong, black and white etc are the poor. And with estimates of meager sums of money for survival being benchmarks, the life of the subdued and poor will only deteriorate.


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