Weekly Current Affairs

Task force moots new panel on BPL [Governance, Social Justice]

  • A task force headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to prepare a road map for elimination of poverty has submitted its report to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and suggested setting up of a committee to identify people below the poverty line (BPL).
  • Task force, which included NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy and secretaries from the Ministries of Rural Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, has also suggested participation from the States in defining the BPL population.
  • Task force was not mandated to work on fixing the poverty line. Its terms of reference included developing a working definition of poverty and coordinating and developing synergy with Central Ministries and State government task forces.
  • Its main task was to prepare a road map for elimination of poverty as well as suggest strategies and anti-poverty programmes.
  • Now, it has recommended to the PMO that a new committee be set up, which will work on the definition to identify BPL population, and this will include active participation from States.
  • According to the discussion paper on poverty, official measures are based on the Tendulkar poverty line. But the line is not without its share of controversies, with many terming it being too low.
  • This has prompted the previous government to appoint the Rangarajan Committee, which has recommended higher rural and urban poverty lines.
  • The paper talks of considering four options for tracking the poor.
    • First, continue with the Tendulkar poverty line.
    • Second, switch to the Rangarajan or other higher rural and urban poverty lines.
    • Third, track progress over time of the bottom 30 per cent of the population
    • last, track progress along specific components of poverty such as nutrition, housing, drinking water, sanitation, electricity and connectivity.