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Poor mathematics, richer nation!
27.5% is not the count of poor Indians... ask the World Bank. It’s more!!!

Arithmetic and India have a tie that can be traced back to centuries... but when it comes to logical calculations, the nation takes a backseat! Want a proof? Read on...

The last week of August 2008 saw the World Bank release a new poverty estimation which stated that 41.6% of Indians were currently living below the poverty line (BPL count), a figure arrived at by taking an income of $1.25/day as the BPL standard. A few days hence, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), using a $1.35/day standard, released its estimation which revealed that a whopping 54.8% of Indians belonged to the BPL category. Those were the alarming figures that external bodies disclosed? But when it comes to our own calculations, the figure gets much more encouraging, what with our estimation of that ‘only’ 27.5% Indians belonged to the BPL category?!

Look deeper and you realise how we’ve given way to illogical calculations! We compile BPL data based on expenditure and not income. Thus, while we aim to calculate ‘income poverty’ we actually end up calculating ‘expenditure poverty’. More so, in the face of a generic rise in the cost of living, a generalised $1.25/day per person or its equivalent calorific value makes little logic. Surely, India needs to overhaul its poverty reduction schemes and outdated guidelines. Studies show how through nation wide vocational training programmes, around 14 million youths can be provided job instantly & that pro-poor policies could lift 126 million people out of BPL cauldron by 2020 – that’s a massive 11.45% of India’s total population! The polity therefore needs to frame more long term plans that would enable Indians to develop technical skills at a younger age. But first of all, government agencies should get some ‘logical’ arithmetic training sessions going!

By:- Sray Agarwal

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