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NITI Aayog may not opt for SECC for poverty line

The task force will make its recommendation within six months

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Mar 28 2016 11:40AM | Updated Date: Mar 28 2016 11:40AM

NITI Aayog may not opt for SECC for poverty line

 Keeping the issue of poverty line open, a task force of NITI Aayog has questioned the possibility of substituting the line with the data on deprivation given by the socio economic and caste census (SECC). 

While the task force did not categorically say which methodology should be adopted, it said it would make its recommendation within six months after consulting all stakeholders including states.
"It is tempting to think that the census contains all the relevant information for tracking poverty and could serve as a substitute for poverty line-based assessment of poverty. But, there are problems with this conclusion," said a paper released by the task force, headed by NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya.
For one, the SECC does not collect information on the overall income or expenditure of the household, the paper said. "Even if we started collecting such information, overtime, there is high risk of household responses getting biased since they know that their responses determine whether or not they would receive benefits under various social schemes," it said.
The government has so far released only rural part of the census and that too economic one. The caste part is yet to be released.
This was also a point that did not go down well with the task force, if SECC was to be really made a substitute for the poverty line.
"Also important is the fact that after nearly five years, we still have only the rural SECC results with its urban counterpart still to become available," it said. SECC 2011 was released in July 2015.
Many had argued that the number of poor as calculated by the SECC would give a rough idea of the poverty line.