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Digvijaya Singh questions poverty line criteria

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Digvijaya Singh questions poverty line criteria
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New Delhi: Even as a controversy rages over the Planning Commission's figures on poverty reduction, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh Saturday said that the panel's criteria for fixing the poverty line were "abstract".

"I have always failed to understand the Planning Commission's criteria for fixing the poverty line. It is too abstract. It can't be same for all areas," Singh tweeted.

He said that the first indicator of the poverty was malnourishment and anaemia in the family, which was easily measurable. "Can't we have that as a criteria?" he asked.

According to the Planning Commission's data, the percentage of people below poverty line declined sharply to 21.9 in the financial year 2011-12 from 37.2 in 2004-05.

The decline was sharper in urban areas. In the financial year ended March 2012, the percentage of people below poverty line in urban areas was 13.7 while in rural area it was 25.7, according to data released by the Planning Commission.

Congress leaders Raj Babbar and Rashid Masood had raised a storm this week when they said that a meal could be had for Rs.12 in Mumbai and for Rs.5 in Delhi.

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