The poor just got richer

At a time when vegetable prices are rising by the day, oil companies are increasing rates of petrol and kerosene, and there are talks of doing away with subsidy on LPG cylinders, it would not be erroneous to say that the government wants the poor to starve to get BPL status.

The Planning Commission report suggests bankruptcy in the government think tank and also underlines how ignorant the government has become of the realities of the world. Good food, proper health care and quality education -- all for a mere Rs 32 per head for urban areas and Rs 26 for rural at a time when inflation is soaring should not have been an idea coming from a government which is headed by economist-prime minister Manmohan Singh.

It's a definition that many would find ridiculously unrealistic. It seems to be just a ploy to artificially depress the number of poor in India. This extremely low estimated expenditure is aimed at reducing the number of people below the poverty line and thus reducing government expenditure on the poor. It is important now that planning commission be revamped.

It should have eminent people from social organisations, political leaders and activists. Planning can not be left just to a handful back from the air-conditioned chambers of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. For several years now, the planning commission is just meant to reduce government's burden, by reducing its social responsibility which has actually resulted in huge corruption.

This shamelessness has caused people to lose faith in the political system and take to violent means of protest in desperation. If a large part of India is witnessing a challenge to its sovereignty, it is because the government of the people is not for the people any longer. That should change.

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