Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rs 32/Day???

According to the Planning Commision of India, a person living in urban India is not poor if he can spend more than Rs. 32/day and in rural areas the ceiling gets lowered to Rs 26/day. First thought which came on reading this news article was has the government any idea of the real ground situation? Have they done any reasearch into real cost of living at all? So if a person can't spend Rs 961/month he is "below poverty line" and it seems over 40 crore Indians are below this cutoff, which is an even bigger disgrace. And this is the government mandated poverty line. The more realistic number would be even higher.

Below is the break-up of how the figure had been arrived.
  • Rs 3,860/month  for a family of 4 living in the 4 metro cities.
Daily Expenditure
  • Cereals - Rs. 5.50/day
  • Pulses - Rs. 1.02/day
  • Milk - Rs. 2.33/day
  • Edible Oil - Rs. 1.55/day
  • Vegetables - Rs. 1.95/day
  • Fruits - Rs. 0.44/day
  • Sugar - Rs. 0.70/day
  • Salt & Spices - Rs 0.78/day
  • Other Foods - Rs. 1.51/day
  • Fuel - Rs. 3.75/day
Monthly Expenditure
  • Rent & Conveyance - Rs. 49.10/month
  • Healthcare - Rs. 39.70/month
  • Education - Rs 29.60/month
  • Clothing - Rs. 61.30/month
  • Footwear - Rs. 9.60/month
  • Other Personal Items - Rs 28.80/month
Wonder which era the Suresh Tendulkar Committee is living in? Have they tried themselves living with such resources for a week, forget a month. And all this from a government headed by a "renowned" economist. This seems to be an exercise undertaken in reverse gear. Instead of trying to find out the number of people under poverty line by fixing the line, it seems to have pegged the number and then fixed the line accordingly. And if this is not the case then it makes me wonder what kind of 5 year Plans are built on this basis.

Here is an interesting blog on the subject:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: Where Was I?

Today is September 11, 2011. exactly a decade after probably the single biggest and most spectacular terrorist attack which humankind has seen. Co-ordinated hijacking of 4 civilian airlines itself would have been a big thing  but to use those planes filled with civilians as weapons was an unprecedented attack on humanity. Today being the 10th Anniversary, millions of articles will be published. Hence I will not be going into any details of the attacks.  This post is about my 9/11 memories and its aftermath.

9/11 Day

I was a fresher in engineering college, having joined in July. In fact I wasn't even aware of the attacks till some time. After dinner the daily "Bakar"session was on. In this group one fellow came excitedly saying that there have been terrorist attacks in the US. This was a shocking news. Then he added that the WTC had been hit by planes and some more planes had been hijacked. The hostel TV wasn't working. Personal internet connections were still unheard of. Mobile phones still charged for incoming calls, so no one around had them. One person went to the campus STD booth  and called his home and got the news confirmation. Someone else mentioned that there was a working TV set in another hostel. So we proceeded towards that, a bit apprehensive though. After all the ragging period hadn't been over as yet. But needn't have worried about that as the news was much more interesting than a bunch of "murgas" (as we freshers were referred to as). Watched TV for some time and got to know of the scale of destruction caused. Went back with the mind numbed at the scenes witnessed on TV. Sleep was fitful. The next day papers carried all the grim news. 

Aftermath of 9/11
The hostel TV was repaired on an immediate basis. And the news channels were watched with great interest. 9/11, Osama bin Laden, WTC, Anthrax, You are with us or against us, Global war on terror... these were some of the terms added to the "bakar" sessions. Newspapers had reading material and sales of weeklies like India Today & Outlook had dramatically increased in the hostel.

10 years to the day of the deadliest terror attack on humanity. And this is what I remember from those days. The attacks may have taken in a land far away. I did not know any of the people who lost their lives in 9/11 nor did I know anyone who was around the place on that day. But something inside me certainly felt the attack.