New Delhi: Uncertainty over the number of people who will benefit from the proposed food security law has been lifted. The Planning Commission has accepted the Tendulkar Committee report which holds 37 per cent of people in India below the poverty line, an increase of 10 per cent.
After the severe criticism of the draft legislation on the right to food, the Planning Commission was asked by the EGoM to specify how many in India were poor. The Commission had a choice to either accept or reject the report of the Tendulkar committee.
India has a new way of defining poverty which is not based on just access to food, but also includes expenditure on health and education. The Tendulkar report will seriously impact the architecture of the right to food bill. But activists on the ground are already calling it an underestimation of poverty.
Two other reports had pegged poverty at higher levels. The Arjun Sengupta report had said 77 per cent of Indians live on less than Rs 20 a day while the N C Saxena Committee report had said 50 per cent of people live below poverty. However, the Tendulkar report with a figure of at 37 per cent, is perhaps more acceptable to the government.