Stop Underreporting Poverty Levels


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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One Comment

  1. Sandy London says:

    India is one of the poor countries in the world. Many Indians do not get two meals a day. They do not have good houses to live in. Their children do not get proper schooling. Many of them die for want of medicines. They are ill clad. The conditions have not sufficiently improved even long after their Independence. I have seen first hand the disparity and the attitude of those who have money treat those that don’t. How can a person of conscience not lose all sense of moderation in a nation where some live in palaces that put Buckingham to shame while others watch their children die of diseases and starvation? Thanks to Monsanto and Cargill there are suicides committed daily by farmers in India who can’t afford to pay back the money to the lenders they borrowed money from to pay for these GMO seeds (genetically modified organism). Poverty will never end unless there are real solutions to end it; solutions based on economic justice and political changes. Poverty is not a problem of just the poor, it effects everyone. We must do something to rid the world of extreme poverty. There is no reason for people to live with so little when there are so many resources available. No matter who we are or where we live, we must all join together for global sustainability and economic justice for all. Our problems are man made, therefore they may be solved by man. This planet and it’s resources is the birthright of every man, woman and child. I would like to be able to pride myself in being a member of a race that views its brothers and sisters across the globe with love, compassion and generosity.

    Sandy London (Australia)

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