New Delhi : A new survey by the National Sample Survey Office for the year 2009-10 has revealed that more than 60 per cent of the population in rural India lives on less than 35 rupees a day, while the same number of people in urban India live on less than 66 rupees a day. The figures have shocked most readers of a leading national English daily.
When Tenali Rama asked a cross-section of citizens in New Delhi to react to the survey findings, Giridhar (name changed on request) was outraged. “This is an eye-opener. All this while, I was given to understand that India lives in its cities. Now you are telling me that this survey reveals that some people also live in villages outside Delhi and other cities. And that they don’t have money. I will ask our club to organise a morning walk for them in support and call it `Walk for the Poor’. We will ask (beep) to cover that in Delhi (beep).”
Reactions to the survey’s findings have been pouring in. A well-known TV network plans to organise a 24-hour `Poorathon’, as part of which it will invite film stars and other Page 3 celebrities to adopt villages and specific areas in cities. “We aim to distribute at least 5 crore wallets to both the rural and urban poor. These wallets will be of aspirational value to the poor, encouraging them to earn money to keep in those wallets,” said a press release from the channel.
However, the chairman of the Press council has criticised the reportage of the findings in the media saying, “90 per cent of Indians are fools. They will not understand what to make of such news. The guys who spend more than 35 and 66 rupees in a day will now feel they are affluent and splurge on watching cricket matches.”
With indications that many of the Kingfisher Airlines employees (read earlier report) could be in the under 66 rupees bracket in India’s cities, chairman Vijay Mallya has asked the government to have a version of the MGNREGA exclusively for Kingfisher employees. “No, I am not asking for a bailout. Get that right, guys. All I am saying is whenever the pilots refuse to fly, they should be asked to work under NREGA so that they earn at least minimum wages to be able to afford a can of beer,” Mallya clarified.