Poverty And J&K

21 November 2014
Kashmir Reader

Srinagar: Electioneering is at peak across the state. Political parties have come up with manifestos, but all of them have ignored the report of the Planning Commission that has painted a grim picture of the state's development and prosperity. According to the Commission, the Kashmir region has 2.13 lakh households living below the poverty line. Out of these, more than 1.89 lakh are in rural areas. In Jammu region, the total estimated BPL households are 1.92 lakh, with 1.72 lakh in rural areas. The Ladakh region has 28.07 per cent rural households in the BPL category, while the figure for urban areas is 8.36. The highest number of BPL households in the state has been recorded in north Kashmir's Kupwara area, with a figure of 0.409 lakh households. The Jammu district stands at number two, with 0.375 lakh BLP households, Baramulla is at three with 0.362 lakh, while in the Samba district, the number is 0.078 lakh. Data emerging from almost all states across India shows marked poverty decline, but Jammu and Kashmir is among the only two states with upward poverty trends in 2011-12, compared to 2009-10. The latest Planning Commission data show that Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh are the only two states along with the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands and Dadar and Nagar Haveli, which continue to show poor performance in poverty alleviation schemes. The poverty rate in the J and K rose from 9.4 per cent in 2009-10 to 10.35 per cent in 2011-12, mainly due to an increase in those living below the poverty line in rural areas - 8.1 per cent to 11.5 per cent. The planning commission report indicates that Jammu and Kashmir has around 13.27 lakh people living below the poverty line. 'The state has 10.73 lakh people falling under the BPL category in rural areas and another 2.53 lakh in urban pockets,' the report reads. According to the state's Economic Survey of 2010, about one-fifth of the population in J&K comes in the BPL category, with about 98 per cent of it living in rural areas. The manner in which political parties keen to come to power in Kashmir have ignored the report indicates that the issue will continue to be neglected for another term as well.