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The new BPL Survey 2011. Anti-poor Estimates Anti-poor Methodology Anti-poor Process. Targeted Public Distribution System & BPL Survey. 1992 BPL Survey was used to initiate the TPDS system, which was a departure from the Universal Entitlement system that existed till then.

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The new BPL Survey 2011

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The new bpl survey 2011 l.jpg

The new BPL Survey 2011

Anti-poor Estimates

Anti-poor Methodology

Anti-poor Process


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Targeted Public Distribution System & BPL Survey

  • 1992 BPL Survey was used to initiate the TPDS system, which was a departure from the Universal Entitlement system that existed till then.

  • The PDS was actually in a much better shape at that point of time. Middle Class people too went to the Ration Shops to get PDS Ration that included grain, sugar, edible oil and kerosene. The PDS kept a check on open market prices. The MSP provided support to farmers.

  • In this background, the TPDS was initiated ostensibly to reduce the subsidies spent by the government, but more importantly to get more people to buy from the open market. That was to make more space for private business.

  • TPDS initiated differential prices for APL, BPL, and subsequently, Antyodayacategories. This made permanent BPL Cards necessary.


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2002 BPL Survey Fiasco

  • While 1992 BPL Survey was set in motion to initiate the TPDS, the 2002 BPL Survey was to further restrict the coverage of the public distribution system.

  • Thus the %age of households to be selected as BPL was reduced from about 36% in the 1997 survey to about 26% planned for 2002 Survey. This would have opened up the consumption of three quarters of the population to open market forces.

  • Unfortunately for the government, this reduction was opposed tooth and nail by many organisations including members of the Right to Food Campaign which also went to the Supreme Court on the matter.

  • Subsequently, Planning commission estimates rise from 26% in 1999-2000 (55th round of NSSO) to 28% in 2004-05 (61st round of NSSO). This exposed the fallacy of the estimates used for 2002.


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2011 BPL Survey

  • The agreement between the government and the right to food campaign on lifting the stay in the Supreme Court Case on the 2002 survey, led to the appointment of the N C Saxena Committee. Saxena committee recommended a selection methodology and also recommended that at least 50% of rural households be brought under BPL coverage.

  • The government appointed the Tendulkar Committee and it gave a revised figure for rural poverty of 41.8%. If we compare this to the Saxena committee recommendation – it means reducing BPL coverage by about 1.3 crore households.

  • Subsequently, the government conducted a Pilot Survey with help of different NGOs for testing a draft methodology. Government says that the 2011 survey design is based on the outcome of the pilot survey. But Pilot survey report has not been shared yet with anyone – not even the participating NGOs nor the state governments.

  • Based on the 2011 BPL survey the government is planning further restriction of social security and livelihood support programmes – for instance Kerosene and Fertiliser Subsidy.


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Process of 2011 BPL Survey

  • First, some Households are to be excluded based on their satisfying some criteria such as ownership of assets, nature of employment and income level.

  • Then some households are to be included automatically as BPL, based on their belonging to five different deprived categories.

  • The rest of the households are to be surveyed on a seven point deprivation scale based on 7 different deprivation indicators.


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Proposed Automatic Exclusion Criteria The points in red are departures from NC Saxena Methodology

  • Motorized Two/Three/Four Wheelers/Fishingboats (which require registration)

  • Mechanized Three/ Four wheeler agricultural equipment such as tractors, harvesters etc.

  • Kisan Credit Card with the credit limit of Rs.50,000 and above

  • Households with any member as Government Employee: gazetted/ non-gazetted/ central/ state government/ PSU Government-aided autonomous bodies and local bodies.

  • Households with non-agricultural enterprise registered with the Government

  • Any member in the family earning more than Rs. 10,000 per month

  • Paying income tax or professional tax


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Proposed Automatic Exclusion Criteria The points in red are departures from NC Saxena Methodology

  • Households with three or more rooms with all rooms having pucca walls and pucca roof

  • Owning Refrigerator

  • Owning landline phones

  • Households owning 2.5 acres or more irrigated land with at least one irrigation equipment such as diesel/ electric operated bore well/ tube well;

  • 5 acres or more land irrigated for two or more crop seasons;

  • Households owning 7.5 acres or more land with at least one irrigation equipment such as diesel/ electric operated bore well / tube well : Tribals who got Bore well/ tube well loan from Government

    Saxena Committee had recommended exclusion based on having double/ triple the land holding of the district average and had mentioned that STs should not be excluded based on Land Criteria


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Proposed Automatic Inclusion Criteria

  • Households without shelter;

  • Destitutes/living on alms;

  • Manual scavengers;

  • Primitive Tribal Groups;

  • Legally released bonded labourers;


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N C Saxena Committee had recommended further groups to be brought under Automatic Inclusion

  • Single Women

  • Households headed by disabled persons

  • Mahadalits

  • Minor Headed Households

    Other Demands that were made

  • HIV affected people

  • SC / ST Households

    The inclusion criteria leaves out some of the Automatic Antyodaya categories identified by the Supreme Court


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Ranking of Remaining Households using Deprivation Indicators

  • Households with only one room with kutcha walls and kutcha roof;

  • Households with no adult member between age 16 to 59;

  • Female headed households with no adult male member between age 16 to 59;

  • Households with any disabled member and no able bodied adult member;

  • SC/ST households;

  • Households with no literate adult above 25 years;

  • Landless households deriving the major part of their income from manual casual labour.


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Interest Groups: Who are the groups that might suffer as a result of the planned BPL Methodology

  • Fishing Community: The Motorised Boat Criteria

  • Farmers: The landless labourer criteria, Fertiliser Subsidy to be restricted to BPL and given in cash

  • Weavers and other Artisans: The landless labourer criteria, The one kutcha room criteria

  • Dalit Christians / Dalit Muslims: The SC category excluding Christians/Muslims

  • Single Women: No automatic inclusion, Restricted Priority

  • Person with Disability: No automatic inclusion, Restricted Priority

  • SC / ST: No automatic inclusion


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The Survey Process

  • Along with Caste Census

  • The use of Tablet Computers

  • The lack of community participation during the survey process

  • Enumerator not to verify any answers and just feed it in.

  • Household to certify that data entered is correct even if they can not read the tablet computer properly.

  • Definition of Room (2 metre long X 1.5 metre wide X 2 metre high)

  • Definition of House: A shanty with polythene walls and polythene roof considered as kutcha house and not as homelessness


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Our Position

  • The Universalisation versus Targeting Debate

  • Whether PDS should be linked to BPL

  • The poverty Estimation Debate.

  • Tendulkar poverty line means 1776 calories for urban poverty line (ICMR norms 2100 Calories) and 1999 calories for rural poverty line (ICMR norm 2400 Calories).

  • This implies households which go to bed hungry two to three days a week would be counted as non-poor.

  • The new NSSO Survey, 66th round, is expected to bring down government poverty estimates further from 37% to 32%.


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Action Points

  • Advocacy

    • Larger Civil Society Meeting

    • Memorandums to decision makers.

    • Meetings with such decision makers

  • Grassroots Action

    • Mobilisation

    • Trial Run


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