Do away with BPL in 22 districts: Panel

At a time of escalating conflict in the Naxal-affected districts,a government committee under a Planning Commission member has recommended universal coverage

Written by Ruhi Tewari | New Delhi | Published: May 31, 2013 2:27 am

At a time of escalating conflict in the Naxal-affected districts,a government committee under a Planning Commission member has recommended universal coverage,which means doing away with the BPL list,in 22 ‘most backward’ of the 82 Integrated Action Plan (IAP) districts. The reason for this recommendation is not only “overwhelming poverty” but also “presence of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) activity”.

The 22 districts include five from poll-bound Chhattisgarh,including Bastar,the hotbed of Maoist activity.

The ministry has accepted the recommendations of the committee and will take them to the Cabinet soon.

The Abhijit Sen-led committee for ‘suggesting methodology for inclusion of eligible families in the existing Below Poverty Line list’,which was set-up by the Rural Development Ministry in October last year,submitted its report on May 22.

While the eight-member committee has noted that the existing BPL list includes households that are ineligible,it has said it is “unlikely that states will put in the full effort” required to make interim changes to the list when a new one,based on the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011,is due soon. Hence,it has chosen to limit itself to IAP districts where anomalies need to be corrected on an urgent basis.

The 22 districts picked by the committee are among the bottom 5 per cent (32 most backward) of all districts in the country as per the Planning Commission’s ranking and have a rural population of 4 million households. Apart from five districts in Chhattisgarh,these include eight in Jharkhand,two in Madhya Pradesh and seven in Orissa. According to the Planning Commission,LWE activity is “not only a threat of violence to all residents but is also likely to impede systematic targeting through door-to-door verification”.

In an additional 34 IAP districts,which figure among the bottom 30 per cent,the committee has recommended including all “vulnerable” households in the BPL list,while not favouring a complete universal approach.

Govt extends IAP for 4 more years

New Delhi: The government has decided to extend the Integrated Action Plan (IAP),a development plan for worst Naxal-affected districts,for four more years with annual allocation of Rs 1,000 crore. According to the fresh proposal,each of the 82 IAP districts will be given Rs 5 crore annually while the remaining Rs 590 crore will be distributed among the districts on the basis of their population and area. Soon after the discussion with Cabinet Secretary A K Seth on Monday,the Planning Commission is learnt to have moved a Cabinet note for extending the plan for four more years. ENS

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