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The Faulty Numbers

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21IN_PLAN_PANEL_555827fBy Archana Gupta

A Sunday evening as usual. India Gate’s  beautiful vicinity which is brimming with people. There are vendors all over the place, as we expect. But the difference is that there were hardly 10% of them who used to roam around the area to sell their commodities. Now, they can’t stick to a place as it would wipe the bare minimum that they earn. This is the result of the “apparent” security threat India is facing, ignoring the economic repercussions. It has affected their earnings a lot. The per day income is suffering because of the closure of India Gate for common people. When I talked to a seb puri seller about the aftermath, he said Madam! 6-7 mahine hog ye, ab to umeed hi chhod diya (It’s been closed since 6-7 months. Now we have left the hope of betterment and  Gate’s reopening).

This hopelessness is just a micro level instance where people are losing out on a major share of whatever  they earned. But the dichotomy is that the Planning Commission has released the estimate of 7.9% decline in poverty rate for 2011-12. On the one hand , people in unorganised sector are still miles away from decent living standards, this estimate is shocking. Those vendors have nothing to do with brainstorming policies but they know that rupees 33.2 a day is not enough to sustain them (though it is more than enough for “some”). Dear office bearers, economics of planning and poverty statistics does lie beyond ECONOMISTS. They do talk about redistribution of resources, welfare schemes  but not about education, health and life standard. What about redistribution if there is little to distribute knowing the fact that India has been a country of low per capita income. The loss of unemployment cannot be coincided with poverty statistics. The distribution of food at nominal rates under PDS, midday meals and other welfare schemes does place a question mark on the reduction of poverty. The numbers are not indicating the real situation. Poverty measures cannot ignore the change in the economic structure and labour force.  And about the decrease in poverty estimates , the Planning Commission can not eat the fruit of the tree before it grows!!

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