What is even more important, however, is to clarify what the poverty line does not signify. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, there is no suggestion whatsoever that the benefits of government programmes will be restricted to those below this poverty line. The aim is not, as many canards make out, to artificially or falsely reduce the poverty numbers in order to score political brownie points or to bring down the allocations that have to be made on anti-poverty programmes.

Quite to the contrary, the incontrovertibly clear landmark contribution made by the UPA-II government is that for the first time in the last 20 years, the poverty line has been delinked from entitlements of the people of India. Indeed, with the 12th Plan, this government has taken the first steps in acknowledging that poverty is a multi-dimensional concept that cannot be reduced to consumption expenditure alone. Read More