Saturday, July 27, 2013

India officials blasted after telling poor: 'You can eat for five pence'

India's ruling Congress Party was forced to withdraw claims that the country's poor could eat a large meal for five rupees amid a growing row over the scale of poverty in the country.

The claims were made by senior party leaders as they defended new government figures which said poverty had declined by more than 15 per cent since the Congress-led government came to power in 2004.

Its figures were challenged by opponents and anti-poverty campaigners who said they were based on the assumption that people living on 27 rupees per day (29p) in rural India and 33 rupees per day (36p) were not poor.

During the row several Congress Party leaders made a series of claims on how little it costs in India to buy a meal. Former Bollywood star and now Congress MP Raj Babbar said he could eat well in Mumbai for 12 rupees (13p). “I can get a lot of rice, dal, sambar and some vegetables too,” he said.

 His Congress colleague Rasheed Masood claimed he could buy a filling meal for five rupees (5.5p) close to Old Delhi’s Jama Masjid mosque, while Farooq Abdullah said it was possible to buy a meal for as low as one rupee. Full story...

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