Ruckus in Rajya Sabha over lowering poverty line

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday led other opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha to protest the Planning Commission's move to lower the poverty line.

The issue came up as soon as house met for the day with opposition members on their feet against the Planning Commission's decision to bring down the poverty level.

The Planning Commission Monday released data showing that poverty had significantly declined between 2004-05 and 2009-10. It said the poor were the ones who spend less than Rs.28 per day in urban areas and Rs.22.50 in rural areas. These figures are lower than the Rs.32 in urban areas and Rs.26 in rural areas for the year 2010-11.

"This is the end of poverty line and beginning of starvation line... can the prime minister and finance minister manage in Rs.32 per day," BJP leader S.S. Ahluwalia said, raising the issue.

Members of the Bahujan Samaj Party, AIADMK and the Left joined him in creating a ruckus over the issue.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said in response: "The issue can be raised in the debate on general budget. Still, if you (opposition) want the planning commission minister can speak on this."