Target: Planning Commission in India
Goal: Report accurate data reflecting India’s high poverty levels
In a gross effort to highlight the progress of India’s economy, the country’s Planning Commission is guilty of fabricating poverty levels, resulting in a drastic shift from 37 percent in 2004 to a record low of 22 percent today. That some 85 million Indian citizens have miraculously ceased to be poor between these years is not a reflection of India’s progress but, rather, reflects an attempt to cover up issues that need to be addressed. Urge the India Planning Commission to reassess their decision to simplify the criteria that determines the poverty rate in India, as fabricating these data only perpetuates injustice.
The dramatic decline in poverty for the past few years has recently gained both considerable attention and criticism. The Planning Commission, an institution in the Government of India, determined that only those living on less than 33 rupees per day in urban parts of India, and 27 rupees in the rural regions, can be classified as below the poverty line. While this information takes into account the food a family can afford, it neglects the many other factors that contribute to impoverishment: undernourishment, malnutrition, disability, displacement, and measures of need such as size of family or ages of family members.
Digvijay Singh, the General Secretary, alongside other influential Indian politicians, critiqued the way these poverty levels are calculated. “I have always failed to understand the Planning Commission criteria for fixing poverty line. It is too abstract, can’t be same for all areas,” he tweeted recently. Some claim that, following the Commission’s criteria, a family a family of five could not possibly survive on such small amounts of money per year, while others claim the poverty lines are simply fixed too low. Most agree that something needs to change.
Accurately reporting India’s poverty rate will not reflect poorly on the country but, rather, will allow its politicians and officials to gauge the problem and find more effective solutions for them. Poverty is a complex issue, but it is certainly not helped by fabricating and underreporting the prevalence of India’s poor. Urge the Planning Commission in India to reassess their criteria for poverty levels and find one that better reflects the rate of poor citizens in the country.
Dear India Planning Commission,
India’s poverty rate has drastically declined in the past few years, but not because the poor are less prevalent. Your decision to classify Indian citizens living only on less than 33 rupees per day as below the poverty line is a fabrication that belies economic realities. Many who live on this amount or more are also living in conditions that most countries would deem impoverished. Your elected officials have criticized these criteria and are urging you to take other factors into consideration when determining how poverty should be measured.
I urge you to act immediately in order to accurately reflect poverty data in your country. It will benefit the people of India and assist officials who hope to mitigate these issues in the future.
[Your Name Here]
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