Are You Only Worth Rs. 28.00 Per Day and Below, to the Government?

A group of slum children in IndiaPoverty is not a new scene in today's economy.  Unemployment is widespread, and not just for India alone.  However,  the new budget proposes a new scheme for the poor in India.  And apparently it's proposed by the top, rich and influential members of the government who have no idea what it is to live on what they propose. 

Granted that they might have had a tough life, but is Rs. 28.00 per day all we're worth if we're poor.  Rs. 28.00 is approximately equal to USD half a dollar per day; approximately 50 cents per day.  

Members of the planning commission (on the news right now) state that 28 rupees can get a person 1200 calories of food per day and take care of basic health and education expenses.  HUH???  Are we hearing this right?  Food, health and education... all for Rs. 28.00 per day? Now wait, those above this limit are not below the poverty line but above.  Here I quote The Hindu with their latest release on the subject... "The Planning Commission on Monday released the latest poverty estimates for the country showing a decline in the incidence of poverty by 7.3 per cent over the past five years and stating that anyone with a daily consumption expenditure of Rs. 28.35 and Rs. 22.42 in urban and rural areas respectively is above the poverty line."

How can you get three basic meals for Rs. 28.00 per day and not feel the pinch of the expenses?  This is absurd. It's adding insult to injury.  Yes, I might be ahead of those who do not have proper education or cannot find ways to make ends meet, but it's the government's duty to find a better way to understand and comprehend the enormity of this issue.  What if  my expenditure per day against all odds is Rs. 29.00....  I cannot avail of the basic government benefits then?   And I cannot enroll my kids in a government school?  And I cannot avail of the rice, kerosene, oil and sugar rations given out to those below the poverty line?  

Where does that leave me when health care is yet another issue.  There are no healthcare plans in place for those who are unemployed, unless you are below the poverty line.  Unless you are employed and covered by medical insurance through your company, or have purchased medical insurance for yourself, there is no government cover for healthcare in India, even when I pay my Income tax on time, and all other taxes.  

Being poor only if you're below Rs. 28.00 per day is outrageous!!!

When they say that poverty has decreased by 7%, its just statistics.  Yet, deciding on the fixed rates to indicate those below the poverty line in India is way beyond insult and not based on proper statistics.  Would these government officials who proposed the plan be able to live on 28 rupees a day?  No... I'd ask, Rs. 29.00 per day?    NEVER.  I can guarantee you that.

I propose that we petition the poverty line limit to be raised to those earning below Rs. 50.00 a day and more.  It could be me... it could be you.  We as a nation need to stand united on this.  

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons