Finally, the Union government has opted for a method of counting poor persons that promises to avoid controversies and problems inherent in the process. As reported in Mint on Tuesday, the below poverty line (BPL) census this year will witness the use of hand-held electronic devices.
These devices will be pre-fed with data from the national population register (NPR), ensuring that no duplication occurs during the count. Once these are linked to NPR, the chances are that other individuals who are not poor and do not deserve subsidized food or money will not be able to get into the BPL list, minimizing the danger of abuse in an already leaky system.
It is interesting that the states and the Centre finally managed to agree to a counting procedure. Continuous bickering over criteria, definitions and procedures had made progress difficult in this essential task.