One of the numerous measures undertaken by the Union Government and followed by the State Governments including Jammu and Kashmir was to set a criterion for recognizing what is now called segment of society Below Poverty Line (BPL). This is purely on economic status of a family meaning the total income of the family below a certain limit. Those families declared below poverty are identified and registered with the relevant department of the State. Normally, there should have been only one list of BPL families in a State and all facilities provided to the families concerned through Social Welfare or other departments should be according to that list. What has actually happened in our State is that different departments supposed to deal directly with the programmes of elevating the life standard of below poverty line people have framed their own lists and are distributing facilities and services in accordance with such lists.
When the attention of the Government was drawn towards this anomaly, the issue was deliberated upon in State Cabinet and accordingly on June 7, 2017 direction was issued that the BPL list compiled by the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department be reviewed under the aegis of the Planning, Development and Monitoring Department in consultation with the departments of FCS&CA, Power Development, Social Welfare and Rural Development Departments to finalize a single BPL list within a month to be used in connection with all BPL related welfare programmes.
It is ironic that the instructions of the Cabinet are flouted and big injustice is done to real weak sections of society as there are numerous complaints that the existing lists contain those families which are not actually BPL. We would appeal to the Government to understand the dangers of not correcting the behaviour of some of the Government Departments of throwing to wind the orders of the superior authority. It needs to be mentioned that the Union Government has also asked the State Government to address the issue and have only one definite list of the families of the State that are meeting all the conditions laid down for categorizing as BPL families.