Maharashtra: Manipulating poverty data

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Mumbai: It may be one of the richest states in the country but Maharashtra is also known for its sharp inequalities. National data shows that poverty in Maharashtra is rising. Yet, strangely, Maharashtra has slashed the number of families below the poverty line by over two and a half lakhs in the last one year.

The state is grappling with farmers’ suicides, which are the highest in the country; the malnutrition cases are on the rise across its tribal belt yet the reduction in the number of poor is startling.

In the last one year, the Maharashtra government has dramatically slashed its poverty figures, reducing ration cards meant for below poverty line families by over 2.6 lakh.

Ironically, this reduction goes against the Center’s poverty estimates, which show that while poverty figures nationally are declining Maharashtra has a rising poverty graph, a rise of around 3 lakh poor families over a 10-year span.

‘This shows that conditions of deprivation in Maharashtra have risen compared to the national picture, so the decision to cut over 2.5 lakh BPL cards doesn’t fit the picture on the ground,” said Assistant Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

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