About 2.82 lakh people, in 3,242 Graam Panchayats are still living under the poverty line in Himachal Pradesh, according to the BPL (below the poverty line) census. The number is something to cheer about going by the population of the state, which stood at 60,77,900, according to the 2001 population census. In terms of percentages, the BPL number is just 4.6 per cent.
The BPL census for the 10th five year plan was done on 13 socio-economic indicators such as size group of operational holding of land, type of house, average availability of normal bearing clothing, food security, sanitation etc.
According to an official release, effective steps were being undertaken to bring down this number to zero with various ploicies like Indira Awaas Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi Awaas Yojana and Swarnajayanti Graam Swarojgar Yoajna. A sum of Rs 24 crore has been earmarked for the current financial year for the same and the process of selection of deserving beneficiaries has been left to the Graam Sabhas as per the existing procedure. Also foodgrains were being provided at reasonable rates to these families under the Annapurna Anna Yojana.
Various scholarships schemes are also being implemented for the students belonging to BPL families, besides free medical facilities. He said that main objective of these schemes was poverty eradication, bringing about equality in the society, provision of nutritious diets and overall economic upliftment of these families.