JK has no credible data on BPL population
Deptts Dish Out Contradictory Figures; Non-Deserving Reap Benefits
Srinagar, Apr 16: At a time when the state government has acknowledged that non-deserving people were benefiting from various schemes meant for uplift of poor, it does not have “credible” data of population living the Below Poverty Line (BPL).
An official in the state Rural Development Department (RDD) said last time the Government of India had conducted BPL census in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002. The census had shown J&K having 32.26 lakh BPL population. However, a separate sample survey by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics in 2008 contradicted RDD saying the numbers is 24.21 lakh.
“The Planning Commission put the BPL number at four percent of the total population,” the official said.
Another official said the Ministry of Rural Development conducts the census after every five years. But for the past one decade no “exhaustive” exercise has been undertaken to have the exact BPL data.
He said following variation in the BPL figures, the state government, last year, ordered conduct of socio-economic census under the supervision of a committee headed by the Chief Secretary after it got the go-ahead from the Government of India. Accordingly committees were set up at district level headed by the District Development Commissioner to re-verify the BPL population along with caste and religion data.
“The aim was to scrutinize and reconcile the existing figures to form a credible data bank of BPL population,” the official said. “However the exercise is nowhere near the completion.”
As per the norms the BPL population is entitled to various benefits under centrally sponsored schemes like financial support for constructions of houses, monthly financial aid, supply of rations at cheaper rates and less rate of interest on different kind of loans taken from financial institutions. Similarly people belonging to SC/ST and other socially backward categories are benefited through different schemes.
What brought the issue into the focus has been an admission by the government last month in the state legislature that “some well-off” persons were availing benefits of schemes meant for the uplift of BPL category.
“A large number of well-off persons had managed to get their names included in the BPL list,” government had admitted. A senior official in RDD said it has come to fore that scores of poor families have been left out in the BPL list in many districts like erstwhile Doda, Rajouri, Kathua and Reasi, Ramban in Jammu and Budgam, Kupwara and Ganderbal in Kashmir.
“There is no denying the fact that well-off families having some sort of political linkage are reaping the benefits under BPL category,” the official said. However he said RDD is only acting as nodal agency for Union Rural Development Ministry to carry out socio-economic census.
Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal said the socio-economic census would be completed soon “Once we have the data it will be superimposed with the general census figures to get the exact picture of the BPL population,” he said.
Minister for CAPD, Qamar Ali Akhoon said at present his department follows the Planning Commission of India data about BPL population in the state to distribute ration and other benefits to them. “We also want credible figures of poor population in the state,” Akhoon said.
Asked about government’s admission that non-deserving people were getting benefits under BPL category, Akhoon said: “We are waiting for the outcome of the socio-economic census.”
Lastupdate on : Mon, 16 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 16 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 17 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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