Gadkari for change in BPL index threshold

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 1 2010, 06:17am hrs
BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday demanded that the threshold of calculating the below poverty line index (BPL) should be raised from an income of Rs 20,000 per annum to those those drawing an income of Rs 1,00,000 per annum. Gadkari said this while hailing the Supreme Courts order to the Centre asking for free distribution of rotting grains in government godowns across the country. The last threshold of BPL was drawn in a different time, with a different growth and inflation rate, he said while inaugurating an exhibition of photographs taken by a team set up by him to visit 22 godowns across the country.

The storage capacity for grains in the country is well below par. And strangely in Jaipur we found that godowns were being used to store liquor. This is a shameful state of affairs and the Supreme Court has given a clean cut direction to the government, I demand that the Centre take a decision in this regard very quickly, he said.

He added that he had information, sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act that the government had been auctioning rotting grain at the rate of Rs 3 -4 per kilogram to distilleries. It just reflects a failure of the government, which has been declaring big things in the last four to five years and yet not been able to control hunger, he said.

In Parliament too things got heated over this issue between the Opposition and the treasury benches with BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and minister of state for culture V Narayanswamy having a heated exchange in the Lok Sabha. Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj too spoke out in Parliament after the Supreme Court order.

While agriculture minister Sharad Pawar assured the House that the Supreme Court order would be honoured, sources said that the order had put the government in a bind.