Living with 50 Cent(s)

The Planning Commission of India is a government body that structures five-year plans to lead the country to prosperity in all sectors. It is the same model followed by the erstwhile Soviet Union (we all know how that ended) and China (I do not want to have Chinese cyberprints all over my blog so let me just keep my comments to myself). Now India has the second largest population in the world. It might have as well overtaken China, but who’s counting?! Anyway, the Planning Commission must have been advised by the inept and corrupt Government (which is at present destroying the country in the name of governance) to introduce measures to alleviate poverty in India. Now this got the Planning Commission thinking hard. The challenge was: How do we reduce the number of people who live in poverty?

And this is where our protagonist steps in. Let’s just call him/her “Genius.” Genius is a member of the Planning Commission entrusted with finding a solution on reducing the number of people under the Poverty Line. Genius doesn’t exactly spend all waking hours in pursuit of the solution because, frankly, who has the time to address such trivial problems as poverty alleviation when there are much better things to do (like getting bribes and attending movie premieres). And then suddenly it is the eve of the D-day. The next day the Planning Commission is expected to unveil a series of measures to combat poverty. So Genius panicks.

And yes, you guessed it right, Genius has an Edison and Eureka  moment, all at once. So our Einstein thinks “How about setting the poverty line much lower?”. And then the next day newspaper headlines scream “Poverty line fixed at Rs 32 for Urban Dwellers and Rs 26 for Rural People”

FYI: 1 U.S. Dollar = ~50 Indian Rupees.

So Indians are expected to live on 50 Cents per day, which of course, automatically takes millions of hungry people off poverty, thereby solving the poverty reduction problem. Without spending a single dime. WoW!

I ask Genius: “Why not reduce the poverty line much much lower? Like say INR 5 or 1 or even 0?” This would make India a poverty-free country. Probably the only country in the world without poor people. After all, with the rising oil and food prices, I am pretty sure we can no longer afford to cook and eat. Which means we’d not spend any money. So yes, some of us may starve to death, but hey, you atleast got people off poverty line. Which is what you wanted in the first place, right?

Now (how) does that sound Genius?

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4 thoughts on “Living with 50 Cent(s)

  1. The conclusions drawn at the end of this article are NAIVE to say the least. Why?. The average Indian manual worker earns 100 Rupees a day; so setting the poverty line at 32 rupees/day is equal to 32% of a normal wage. I don’t think this is unreasonable.

    It is pointless to compare the fiqures in Dollar equivalents as this does NOT reflect the Purchasing power of money in all countries. e.g. The Times newspaper (a broadsheet) costs 5 cents.

    • Globally, the implicitly agreed poverty line estimate is $1 dollar per day, which I am sure you would know. And the Rs 32 estimate happens to be for per person, not per family. So assuming that your daily wage labourer earns Rs 100 and he has a wife and 2 children to support, that adds up to Rs 128. So against an estimated earning of Rs 100, Rs 128 has to be spent. If someone is naive here, guess that’s not me!

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