Updated: March 24, 2018 7:45:38 am
The number of poor families in Gujarat has increased by nearly 19,000 over the last two years, revealed Rural Development Minister Bachubhai Khabad in the state Assembly during Question Hour on Friday. According to the data shared by Khabad, in Gujarat, more than 31.46 lakh families live below poverty line (BPL) and that number has increased by 18,932 in the last two years. Banaskantha district has the highest number of BPL families — 2,36,492.
Several Congress MLAs from across the state had sought details about the number of BPL families in various districts of Gujarat. The compilation of details provided revealed these statistics which the Congress interpreted as “a fourth” of Gujarat’s population living below poverty line.
A release from the Congress said, “If we consider five persons in a family, these figures mean that total over 1.57 crore people are living below poverty line. It means 1/4th of the state’s population is living below the poverty line.” However, Gujarat’s population is 6.04 crore.
According to the data, Banaskantha district is followed by Dahod, which has 2,25,291 BPL families. Porbandar has the least number — 20,664 — of BPL families in Gujarat. Notably, in the last two years, Amreli, Navsari, Rajkot, Morbi and Junagadh districts have witnessed maximum increase in the number of BPL families. Amreli has seen the number increase by 4,248 families, Navsari by 4,120 families, Rajkot by 3,203 families, Morbi by 2,299 families and Junagadh by 1,017 families.
The issue was also discussed during the Question Hour in the House and Congress MLA C J Chavda raised concerns over the increasing number of BPL families in the state despite so many welfare schemes as claimed by the state government. Congress MLA Niranjan Patel said that it was very ironic that despite holding so many Garib Kalyan Melas, the number of BPL families was increasing in Gujarat.
To this, minister Khabad said, “The procedure of counting BPL families is everlasting. And the figures are based on a survey done in 2002. After that, due to various reasons, like increase in population, division of families and migration, the number has been increasing. However, the trend has been on a decline.”
There are five districts which did not record any increase in the number of BPL families in the last two years. These districts include Narmada, Panchmahals, Chhota Udepur, Vadodara and Tapi. At the same time, districts like Surat (1), Gandhinagar (7), Patan (6) and Mahisagar (3) have seen increase of BPL families in single digit.
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