NEW DELHI: Niti Aayog, the government’s premier think-tank, has finally decided that the country needs a freshly defined poverty line to help track the success and outreach of its poverty alleviation measures after a year-long deliberation of the task force on poverty failed to arrive at any other acceptable measure.
“We will soon set up an expert committee to narrowly look at the poverty line issue only, as most states are politically not in sync with each other,” a senior government official said.
According to the official, the government has yet not finalised the constitution of the committee, but as and when it is formed, its sole responsibility will be to arrive at the number of poor in the country.
The task force on poverty, set up in 2015 under the chairmanship of Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya, did not have a clear mandate to define poverty line after the earlier recommendations on poverty during the UPA time had drawn lot of flak.
However, the task force made some suggestions for the purpose of using the number to assess the success of poverty related social sector programmes including defining the lower 40 per cent of the country’s population as poor.
The shift in strategy of the Aayog comes after majority of states refused to agree on a cut-off line for poverty saying the numbers are not in sync with the actual numbers on ground and would therefore be not useful to assess the progress of government’s poverty elimination schemes.