JK’s Poverty Rate Swells

JK’s Poverty Rate Swells

29 July 2013
Greater Kashmir


Jammu: Despite the encouraging data emerging from almost all states across India regarding steep poverty decline, Jammu and Kashmir is among the only two states showing dismal performance on this crucial front as the poverty rate here recorded upward trend 2011-12 compared to 2009-10. The latest 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. These surveys are normally conducted on quinquennial basis. The last quinquennial survey in this series was conducted in 2009-10 (NSS 66th round). However, since 2009-10 was not a normal year because of a severe drought, the NSSO repeated the large scale survey in 2011-12 (NSS 68th round) and a report was finally released by the Commission recently. 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 “, the report reads. As per the Economic Survey of 2010 about one fifth of the population in J&K was falling in Below Poverty Line (BPL) category, with about 98 per cent among them living in the rural areas. Official sources said that with increase in the ratio, the number of such people must have increased as well. Prior to last few years, the poverty graph in Jammu and Kashmir was showing constant decrease. As per the ES the poverty was 30.34 per cent (Rural) 9.18 per cent (Urban) and 25.17 per cent Combined (R+U) in 1993-94. A senior government officer in the state government, who preferred not to name, however said that various factors were responsible for such an “increasing trend in the poverty ration”. “You cannot blame the government alone. The data is mainly dependent on Public Distribution System, issuances of BPL ration cards and similar arrangements made for the welfare of people. At many times less people participation in various schemes launched by the government also shows adverse affect on the ratio”, he claimed. The officer further added that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is bitterly places as compared to the national figure of poverty level but “yes the trend of ration increase is alarming and we will surely look into it seriously”.