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On the occasion of inauguration of Central Government’s National Food Security Scheme through direct cash transfer to BPL families on 15th of December, 2012, Sheela Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi, India said that Rs. 600 i.e. about 11.11 US dollar is enough for a poor Indian (living Below Poverty Line-BPL) family of 5 members to purchase sufficient food stuff to maintain for a month. She made this statement in presence of galaxy of intellectuals and politicians including the Indian National Congress Chairperson Ms. Sonia Gandhi. This statement of Ms. Dikshit, broadcasted through media, has confused all sensible sections of population of our country. Many eminent Indian scholars have vehemently criticized the statement of Ms. Dikshit to be paradoxical. Some of them remarked it as a lampoon on poor Indians. Some remarked it to be ridiculous. Some others refuted and said that she is leaving in such a (foolish) paradise where she is far from the experiences of the real world. In the same meeting Sonia Gandhi admitted that the BPL list is not free from perfections and many genuine families have not been covered in the BPL list. The Central Government is still confused in identifying the poor living below poverty line. Other day Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India defined a person to be above poverty line if his/her per day income is Rs. 32.00 (0.59 $) or Rs.160.00 (2.96 $)per day per family or Rs. 4824.00 (89.3 $) per month for a family of 5 members. This definition was vehemently criticized by many scholars labeling it to be unrealistic and short-sighted. Dr. Ahalwalia’s statement followed by Ms. Sheela Dikshit shows that high-ups people are how much casual or insensitive or indifferent to the cause of the poor. Ms. Dikshit probably assumed that all the families below poverty line earn income just Rs. 600.00 below Ahluwalia’s above poverty mark (Rs. 4824.00) i.e. Rs. 4224.00. But such an assumption is again unrealistic. Income of the poor families varies substantially; some have income far below poverty line; whereas some have income just below poverty line. Equal amount of doze to all categories of families under poverty line has no meaning. Probably Ms. Sheela’s another assumption was that the poor are being covered with the housing under IAY, health services under NRHM and education of their children under SSA programmes which are free of cost. But due to anti-poor temperament of the bureaucracy, the poor hardly could manage to avail those services free of cost (those poor who are able to pay some tips in the form of bribery) through village touts/agents/brokers, could easily avail those services. Again Ms. Sheela seems not to be updated with the soaring market prices of the essential commodities (probably she never goes to market to purchase food stuff), otherwise how can she boldly declare that Rs. 600.00 is enough maintain a family of 5 persons for a month with adequate food stuff. Had she been acquainted with market, then she might have knowledge that with Rs. 600.00, only 7-8 kg basmati rice (quality of rice she as a public representative consumes) can be purchased from the market. How could then she justify to protect a poor family of 5 members from hunger by supplying 7-8 kg rice per month?? Ms. Sheela is again ignorant of the fact the state governments in India have given licenses to liquor trades at every nook and corner of the country. Male heads of the poor families are invariably addicted to drink. With the direct money transfer to the poor family, the liquor addicted male heads would get license to drink more liquor and thereby a large share of this food security money would be appropriated by the liquor traders. If the money transfer would be in the joint names, then the incidence of conflicts between husband and wife would increase leading to gender violence. Last but not least, the unrealistic political leaders like Ms. Dikshit are blind to witness the changes taking place in the social life of our rural hinterlands. The food subsidy schemes are availed mostly by non-eligible section of people and those poor availing these facilities are getting so much so lazy that their labor powers are going to astray. Such a situation has been responsible not only to cripple the rural labor force but also to damage our agriculture production and productivity.

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