Poor Gujarat of the rich

Dilip Patel

Ahmedabad, May 28, 2024 (Gujarati to Google translation)

NITI Aayog is working on adopting the Tendulkar Committee’s poverty line in 2024. According to this, the poverty rate in rural Gujarat was 21.9% in 2011-12. The per capita monthly income poverty line was Rs. 932. A person has to spend Rs 2 thousand per month for living. But the Gujarat government believes that if there is income, anyone can survive. In the game of figures, the Gujarat government is hiding the real poverty line. Due to this, more than half of the people of Gujarat are living below the poverty line. In the midst of an environment of development, poverty in Gujarat is increasing instead of decreasing. 10 percent of the people of Gujarat are rich and 40 percent are middle class.

Only 1,670 calories of food can be purchased with this much income. When a person actually gets 2,200 calories, it is called a nutritional diet. To get 2200 calories, one has to spend Rs 2,000. This simply means spending twice the official poverty line on food. This simply means that the actual poverty is below the 87% level contrary to the government figures. Official poverty is 21.9% and actual poverty is 87%. This marginal difference does not apply to Gujarat.

In two years, the number of below poverty line (BPL) families in Gujarat has increased by 1,359, the state has lauded for its development model. Amreli district has seen the highest increase of 425 in the number of BPL families. The state government presented these figures in response to several questions raised in the Gujarat assembly on March 21.

Poverty lines vary between states because of differences in prices. Based on 2011-12 data, the poverty line in rural areas of Gujarat in 2014 was Rs. 932 and for urban areas it is Rs. 1,152.

According to official records presented in the Gujarat Assembly, more than 31.67 lakh families are living below the poverty line (BPL) in Gujarat as of January 31. Year. 11 families were removed from the BPL list in 2021 and 2022. As of January 31, 2023, the number of families living below the poverty line in Gujarat increased by 1,359 in the last two years.

The number of families living below the poverty line increased by 2,556 in 2020-21.

Poverty has increased in Amreli, Sabarkantha, Banaskantha, Anand, Junagadh districts.

Professor and economist Hemant Kumar Shah believes that it is ‘sad’ that a state which claims to be ‘developed’ and whose development model is an example for the country and the world has so many poor families.

Between 2002 and 2024, industries in Gujarat have received a lot of help. This should have eliminated poverty. But with the investment coming to Gujarat, poverty is increasing. Education is declining. Health is deteriorating. Growth and employment are falling.

Indira Hirve, director and professor of economics at the Centre for Development Alternatives in Ahmedabad, believes that the net result of growth was that 40% of the population was below the multidimensional poverty line.

In November 2023, a third of Gujarat’s population – 33 percent, or more than 31 lakh families, live below the poverty line (BPL). The per capita BPL income limit has been fixed at Rs. 816 for rural areas and Rs. 1,000 for urban areas, which is Rs. 32 per day for urban residents and Rs. 26 for rural residents.

A total of 31,61,310 BPL families have been identified in Gujarat. Of these, 16,28,744 families are in the extremely poor category and 15,32,566 families are in the poor category.

The number of families in the BPL category in Gujarat has been increasing over the years.

In 2020-21, 1,047 families came into the BPL category, only 14 families were able to come out of it. In 2021-22, 1,751 new families were added to the BPL category and the condition of only two families improved. In 2022-23, the BPL category saw an increase of 303 families, only one family came out of poverty.

Assuming an average of six members per poor family in 31.64 lakh poor families means that the total BPL population in Gujarat is 1 crore 89 lakh, which shows that about one-third of the state’s population lives below the poverty line. (Gujarati to Goohle translation)