Prakash Javadekar
Prakash Javadekar

NEW DELHI: BJP today said the Planning Commission data showing a fall in the number of people living below the poverty line was a “conspiracy” to deprive the poor of the benefits of government schemes and challenged Congress leaders to show how a person could survive on Rs 34 per day.

“The latest report showing a reduction in the number of people below the poverty line is a conspiracy of the Congress against the poor to deprive them of the benefits of BPL schemes. This is the Congress mindset against the poor,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

He said these poverty figures do not reflect the price rise and is just a “political gimmick” to show more people are now out of poverty by lowering the benchmark.

“We challenge the Congress leaders to show how one can survive on Rs 34 per day… They want to show more people are rich by changing the definition,” Javadekar said.

As per the government benchmark, a person earning over Rs 34 per day is above the poverty line.

BJP sought to know that when the Rangrajan Committee, under the watch of the Supreme Court, is looking into the issue of poverty why did the government hasten to present these new figures.

“BJP denounces the anti-poor strategy of the Congress.

With an earning of Rs 34 per day nobody comes out of poverty and the severity of poverty does not go,” Javadekar said.

He said the government has hurriedly presented a “false, rosy picture” despite knowing well the findings of Arjun Sengupta Committee which had said 70 per cent of the people in the country live below the poverty line.

Virtually sticking to its earlier controversial way of calculating poverty figures, Planning Commission had yesterday said that the number of people living below the poverty line has shrunk in both urban and rural areas.

The number of people living below the poverty line has shrunk to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12 from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 on account of increase in per capita consumption, it had said. Meanwhile, BJP MP Anurag Thakur today claimed that the Congress-led UPA was “fudging” figures of the number of poor people in the country and playing “dirty politics”.

“On the number of poor people in the country, the UPA government has played with figures…only six months back, the Centre claimed that the number of poor has been increasing each day, whereas now it asserts that their number has come down,” he said in Chandigarh.

“The government is just fudging the figures and playing dirty politics,” Thakur said while addressing a party meeting.

He alleged that the Congress-led UPA had failed to provide adequate employment to the youths in the country.

“BJP and its allies-ruled states have given more jobs to youths than states ruled by Congress and its allies,” Thakur, who is also BJP youth wing national president, said.

Quoting recent National Sample Survey Organization data, Thakur said UPA I provided jobs to 20 lakh youths whereas UPA II could provide employment to only 10 lakh youths. -PTI