Over 5.5 crore families have been identified as below poverty line (BPL) in rural areas in 2002 census, except in six states and union territories, which have not yet finalised there BPL lists, Parliament was informed.
"States and UTs have identified 550.821 lakh (5.50 crore) rural families as BPL under BPL Census 2002," Minister of State for Planning Ashwani Kumar said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.He said six states and UTs -- Kerala, Orissa, Sikkim, Tripura, Puducherry and Lakshadweep -- have not finalised their BPL lists.
The minister said it is too early to identify the BPL population as per the BPL Census of 2010, as the Socio-Economic Census is still underway.
"For the urban areas, the Socio-Economic Survey for identifying BPL families has not been conducted so far," Kumar said.
As per existing data based on the 2002 Census, Bihar has the highest number of BPL families at over 1.13 crore, followed by Uttar Pradesh (1 crore) and Maharashtra (45lakh).
"The Planning Commission is in the process of estimating the revised per capita poverty line as per the Tendulkar Methodology on the basis of 2009-10 survey data on Household Consumer Expenditure," the minister said.
He said that factoring in the increase in Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers and Agricultural Labourers, the poverty line at June 2011 price level comes to Rs 965 per capita per month in urban areas and Rs 781 per capita per month in rural areas.
"For a family of five, this poverty line would amount to Rs 4,824 per month in urban areas and Rs 3,905 per month in rural areas at June 2011 price levels," Kumar said. Kumar added that the poverty line estimation is in the process of being revised, based on the National Sample Survey Organisation's (NSSO) large sample survey data available for 2009-10.
Citing the United Nation report on the 'Millennium Development Goals 2011', the minister said the poverty rate in the country is expected to fall to 22 per cent in 2015 from 51 per cent in 1990.
Kumar said the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) has taken up poverty reduction as a major agenda.
"Alleviation of poverty in the country is one of the monitorable targets of the 11th Five Year Plan and it aims at reduction in the headcount ratio of consumption poverty by 10 percentage point during the Plan period. The government is implementing a number of programme to alleviate poverty...," he said.
In this regard, Kumar cited programmes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana.