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PM Modi’s poverty control task force yet to finalise action plan

Published : Nov 3, 2015, 11:55 pm IST
Updated : Nov 3, 2015, 11:55 pm IST

Burdened with an arduous task of suggesting ways to eliminate poverty, a task force formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the purpose and headed by Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya is s

Burdened with an arduous task of suggesting ways to eliminate poverty, a task force formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the purpose and headed by Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya is struggling to chart out a clear framework on it. Already running on an extension after missing the original deadline of August 31 for submitting its report, the panel is now aiming to seek time till December 31 for completing its task.

According to sources aware of the development, the Task Force on Elimination of Poverty in India, which was supposed to submit its report by October 30 (which was the fresh deadline given by the PMO after it had sought an extension), has missed this deadline and now plans to wrap it up by the end of 2015, after seeking another extension.

The reason behind the delay, they added, is the fact that in its keenness to avoid getting stuck with the nitty-gritty of whether to identify the number of poor or preparing a methodology of their estimation, the task force has its job cut out as it is busy seeking the inputs from all states.

On March 16, 2015, when Mr Modi had formed the task force under Mr Panagariya’s leadership, it was mandated that Niti Aayog would form similar task forces on the same issue, which will coordinate the activities of the task forces formed by the states.

Sources pointed out that more than seven months down the line, it was realised that states forming similar task forces would not only lead to duplication of work but also increase the workload. Therefore, now the task force under Mr Panagariya is seeking views of states on whether it should identify poor or go for their estimation through formation of a methodology, and plans to assimilate them in its final report.

However, mindful of the delay in preparation of the report, the task force in its effort to avoid taking the path charted by the UPA government for estimating poverty (for which it had formed two separate committees headed by Prof Suresh Tendulkar and former RBI governor C. Rangarajan), it is in the bargain taking more time to complete its task.

The UPA government had set up an expert group under the chairmanship of Prof Tendulkar in 2005 to review the methodology for estimation of poverty. This panel estimated the extent of poverty using a poverty line defined in terms of monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE). Based on this formula, the erstwhile Planning Commission arrived at a poverty line and poverty ratio.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi