Most of Bihar’s AES-Affected Families Below Poverty Line: Report

An audit of the families of children affected by Acute Encephalitis Syndrome by the Bihar government has revealed that more than three-fourths of those surveyed fall below poverty line (BPL), reported The Times of India.

Outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has wreaked havoc in Bihar, especially in Muzzaffarpur, with the death the toll crossing 152 on Sunday, 23 June and still rising. People have now started migrating to escape the disease.

According to the data of 287 families accessed by The Times of India, the annual household income is shown to be a little over Rs 53,500. Now, as per the Rangarajan Committee, the poverty line in Bihar in 2011-12 is defined as a per capita income of Rs 971 per month. Hence, for a family of five, it comes to around 4,855 a month.

Since these are figures from eight years back, a 2 percent annual inflation would take the figure to Rs 5,700 per family (of 5), according to TOI.

Over 77 percent of the families surveyed were below this figure and a significant number of families had six to nine members. In fact, according to the TOI report, there were families that reported an annual income of as little as Rs 10,000, while the most well-off families had an annual income under Rs 1.6 lakh per annum.

The Superme Court, on Monday 24 June, sought a response from the Centre and the Bihar government within seven days on the issue of the encephalitis deaths.

About 61 of the children affected had not eaten anything the night before falling sick. 

About 191 families live in kutcha houses, 60 percent didn't have toilets and 84 percent did not get access to the ambulance service provided by the government because most did not know about it.

(With inputs from The Times of India)

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