Below poverty level is not ‘Below poverty level’
In a fake socialist state like ours, nothing is free. Within weeks of Amartya Sen holding out his theory that poverty is not just being poor, the Congress government has announced this gem.
Currently, BPL families are identified on the basis of scores (0 to 4) on 13 socio-economic parameters. But an expert committee, formed by the rural development ministry, has recommended additional marks for scheduled castes and tribes (SC/STs), Most Backward Castes, Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Muslims. If a household has members with tuberculosis, leprosy, disability, mental illness or AIDS, it will also be awarded points.
Every instrument of dispensation of public goods are now being made to serve the grand interest. The Indian state will divide people even for completely secular purposes such as identification of the poor. The actual benefits that accrue to the BPL families from such divisions are not important.
What is important is to demonstrate :
- the power of the elected to determine your position in society in a completely ad hoc way
- the width of this regime. It is not just about college seats.
- the plight of those who are not covered. (we get nothing, but my neighbour gets shafted, so this must be good for me, let me vote for my group)
- the irrationality of it all (for example : why are christians not given 1 point for being a minority? ) By intentionally leaving irrationality on the table, they will put it out of sane discussion.
If there are any international* students of political science who want to study India. Start from here. This is the where it starts and ends. There are very few free agent voters. The number is getting compacted every election cycle.
* (Indian political science students, please do not explore this angle in your thesis. Lets just say…)