Plan panel remained in news for wrong reasons in 2012

Planning Commission remained in news this year for wrong reasons like fixing poverty line at Rs 28.65 per capita daily in urban areas, spending Rs 35 lakh on refurbishing toilets and slashing average economic growth rate for the 12th Plan to 8 per cent.

It all began in March with the Planning Commission coming out with poverty numbers based on the Tendulkar Committee methodology which raised many eyebrows and drew flak from all corners.

According to its poverty data released in March, an individual above a monthly consumption of Rs 859.6 in urban and Rs 672.8 in rural areas would no longer be considered as poor. The data was used to compute poverty numbers for 2009-10.

These numbers were used by the civil society activists to show that persons with consumption of over Rs 28.65 per day in urban area and Rs 22.42 per day in rural area were above poverty line.

The data which were provided to the Supreme Court created public outcry.

The Commission in its affidavit before the apex court earlier in 2011 had said that "poverty line at June 2011 price level can be placed provisionally at Rs 965 (Rs 32 per day) per capita per month in urban areas and Rs 781 (Rs 26 per day) in rural areas".

Following uproar over fixing poverty line too low, the Commission constituted an expert group headed by noted economist C Rangarajan in May to review the Tendulkar Committee methodology for estimating poverty. It was announced that the committee would submit its report in 7-9 months.

However, that did not happen and Plan Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia at December 27 meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) said that the Rangarajan Committee would submit its report in June, 2013.

Even before the controversy could subside, the Commission made headlines for incurring Rs 35 lakh expenditure for renovating toilets at Yojana Bhawan which houses the body in the capital.

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