With the objective of putting in place a uniform criterion to identify the BPL households in urban areas so that objectivity and transparency is ensured in delivery of benefits to the target groups, the Planning Commission constituted an Expert Group under the Chairmanship of Professor S.R. Hashim.
The terms of reference of the Expert Group are as follows:
a) To recommend appropriate detailed methodology with simple, transparent and objectively measurable indicators, to identify Below Poverty Line (BPL) Households in urban areas for providing assistance under various schemes targeted at the urban poor;
b) To recommend periodicity for the conduct of BPL Survey in Urban Areas or the mechanisms to review such a BPL list;
c)To recommend institutional mechanisms for the conduct of BPL survey, survey questionnaire, processing of data, training, validation and approval of urban BPL list at various levels;
d) To recommend suitable institutional mechanisms to address the grievances of public on exclusion/inclusion in the urban BPL List;
e) Any other suggestions/recommendations to make the exercise of Urban BPL survey simple, transparent and acceptable.
The methodology recommended is as follows:
the Expert Group decided that poverty in Urban areas could be best captured by identifying three categories of vulnerabilities, i.e., residential vulnerability, occupational vulnerability and social vulnerability that the urban poor is subjected to. It was agreed to evolve a methodology to identify urban poor based on the various dimensions of these three areas of vulnerabilities to be qualified by a number of indicators which would also give an idea of the depth/intensity of the vulnerability.
Based on the above broad approach, the Expert Group recommends a three stage identification process (i) Automatic Exclusion ; (ii) Automatic Inclusion ; and (iii) Scoring Index.
Stage 1: Automatic Exclusion: If the number of dwelling rooms exclusively in possession of the household is 4 and above, that household will be excluded. Secondly, the household possessing any one of the assets, i.e., ‘4 wheeler motorized vehicle’, ‘AC Set’ and ‘computer or laptop with internet’ will also be excluded. Besides the households possessing any three of the following four assets, i.e., refrigerator, telephone (landline), washing machine, two wheeler motorized vehicle will also be excluded.
Stage 2: Automatic Inclusion: households facing various kinds of deprivations and vulnerabilities viz. residential, social and occupational vulnerabilities would be automatically included in the BPL List.
a) Under residential vulnerability, If the household is ‘houseless’ or the household has a house with roof and wall made of plastic/polythene or the household having only one room or less with the material of wall being grass, thatch, bamboo, mud, un-burnt brick or wood and the material of roof being grass, thatch, bamboo, wood or mud, then that will be automatically included.
b) Under occupational vulnerability, the household having no income from any source; any household member (including children) engaged in a vulnerable occupation like beggar/rag picker, domestic worker (who are actually paid wages) and sweeper/sanitation worker /mali); and all earning adult members in a household are daily wagers or irregular wagers, then that household should be automatically included.
c) Under social vulnerability, if there is no member of the household aged 18 years and above (Child-headed household) or there is no able-bodied person aged between 18 and 60 years in the household or all earning adult members in a household are either disabled, chronically ill or aged more than 65 years, then that household should be automatically included.
Stage 3: Scoring Index: In the third and final stage, the remaining households will be assigned scores from 0 to 12 based on various indicators of residential, social and occupational vulnerabilities. Those households with scores from 1 to12 are to be considered eligible for inclusion in the BPL List in the increasing order of the intensity of their deprivations meaning thereby that those with higher scores are more deprived.