Corrective measures needed
The issue related to doing away with the lacunas that have crept in the Below Poverty Line (BPL), list compiled by the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department have not been rectified even today.
The issue was highlighted during a cabinet meet on June 7, 2017 and directions were issued that the BPL list compiled by the FCSC&AD be reviewed under the aegis of the Planning, Development and Monitoring Department in consultation with the departments of FCS&CA, Power Development, Social Welfare and Rural Development to finalize a single BPL list within a month to be used in connection with all BPL related welfare programmes.
However, the instructions of the Cabinet were flouted and big injustice is being meted out to the weaker sections of society as there are numerous complaints that the existing lists contains those families which do not actually fall in the BPL category.
What is more ironic is that there should have been only one list of BPL families in a State and all facilities provided to the families concerned through Social Welfare or other departments should be according to the compiled list only.
What has actually happened in our State is that different departments supposed to deal directly with the poverty elevation programmes have framed their own lists and are distributing facilities and services in accordance with such lists.
This being the reason that the Planning Commission data shows that Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, are the only two states alongwith Union Territories of Chandigarh, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands and Dadar and Nagar Haveli, which continue to show poor performance in poverty alleviation schemes.
The poverty rate in the state rose from 9.4 per cent in 2009-10 to 10.35 per cent in 2011-12, mainly due to an increase in the number living below the poverty line (BPL) in rural areas from 8.1 per cent to 11.5 per cent.
The Planning Commission has periodically estimated poverty lines and poverty ratios for each of the years for which Large Sample Surveys on Household Consumer Expenditure have been conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) of the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
The report indicates that Jammu and Kashmir has around 13.27 lakh people living below the poverty line. The state has 10.73 lakh population falling under BPL category in rural areas and another 2.53 lakh such people living in urban pockets.
Therefore, then government needs to understand the dangers of not correcting the behaviour of some of the Government Departments of throwing to wind the orders of the superior authority by failing to compile a comprehensive list of BPL families and individuals.
It needs to be mentioned that the Union Government has also asked the State Government to address the issue and have only one definite list of the families of the State that are meeting all the conditions laid down for categorizing as BPL families.