New Delhi, July 27 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Kirti Azad on Saturday lashed out at Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh and Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal over the poverty debate, saying their statements were meant to divert people's attention.
"Why have Digvijay and Sibal awakened now? Were they in slumber? They had given that data of rupees 26 and rupees 33 nearly two and half years ago. They want to divert people's attention after their leaders were found wanting in wake of their comments that a meal is available for rupee one, rupees five and rupees 12," he said.
Congress leader Rashid Alvi defending his two party leaders said even during the BJP rule it was rupees 12 per day as such the opposition should not crib or make an issue out of this.
"In 2004, rupees 368 (per month), which is 12 rupees daily, was their criteria. How could they blame us? Now the criterion is thrice more, but I don't claim that it is enough," he said.
Digvijay Singh today joined Union Law and Justice Minister Kapil Sibal in questioning the way poverty is calculated in India.
"I have always failed to understand the Planning Commission criteria for fixing poverty line. It is too abstract, can't be same for all areas," Singh tweeted this morning.
"First indicator of poverty is malnourishment and anaemia in the family which is easily measurable. Can't we have that as a criteria?" he said in another tweet.
Digvijay Singh's statements come a day after Sibal challenged the Planning Commission's method of calculating poverty, saying a family of five cannot live on Rs. 5000 a month
The controversy began with Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar earlier saying that l meal would cost Rs. 12 in Mumbai. He was later joined by fellow MP Rasheed Masood who said its Rs. 5 in Delhi.
Both the leaders later withdrew their remarks and apologised after media reports termed them as outrageous.
The Planning Commission had earlier on Tuesday said poverty ratio in the country had declined to 21.9 percent in 2011-12 from 37.2 percent in 2004-05 on account of increase in per capita consumption.
Using the Tendulkar methodology, the commission estimated the national poverty line for rural areas at Rs 816 per capita per month and for urban areas at Rs 1,000 per capita per month for 2011-12.
This would mean that the people whose daily consumption of goods and services exceed Rs 33.33 in cities and Rs 27.20 in villages are not poor. (ANI)