Goa re-defines poor

| 07 August 2001 17:34 IST

Goa has redefined a poor by raising its 'below poverty line' income limit to more than double, in order to accommodate more people under the category.

Goa, a tiny state on the western coast with a population of hardly 1.3 million, thus becomes the first state in the country to take a practical view to face the economic recession in the country.

Scrapping the income limit of Rs 11,000 per annum, Goa would now list all those people having annual income up to Rs 25,000 as the ones to be considered as 'below poverty line'.

"It has been done to extend all the benefit schemes to more number of needy people", says chief minister Manohar Parrikar. He also feels this would stop the trend of producing false income certificates to avail the schemes.

Though the government does not have figures to state how much more population would be covered under the BPL with the cabinet decision taken yesterday, the existing limit was covering almost 15 per cent population against 36 per cent population figuring under the BPL at the national level.

Goa however is being considered to be the richest state in the country, having highest per capita income of Rs 26,681 recorded at current prices for 1999-2000 against the national average of Rs 15,841.

Interestingly, the rural population covered under the existing BPL was hardly 5.34 per cent in Goa, the only state having single digit percentage in the whole country. However, its urban BPL population is above 27 per cent, due to urbanisation, emerging slums and migration of unskilled labour from outside the state.

Considering the high price index in the tourist state, the government had recently also raised the income bar for granting scholarships to economically backward class students to Rs two lakh, bringing even an upper middle class family under the EBC category.

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