Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Central coordination board to distribute identity cards to poor from Sept 17

A 10-member Central Coordination Board was formed today under the leadership of Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) vice chair Janak Raj Joshi to distribute identity cards to poor households.
The secretariat of the board — that includes secretaries from Finance Ministry, Home Ministry, Prime Minister's Office, National Planning Commission (NPC) and other related ministries — will be established in the Poverty Alleviation Department of the National Planning Commission, according to Joshi.
"The meeting today also decided to start the distribution of identity cards to the poor from September 17, if everything goes as planned," he said, adding that chief secretary Leela Mani Paudyal also participated in the meeting.
The Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) is planning to categorise the poor into three categories — the lowest 10 quintile, 20 quintile and 30 quintile below the poverty line — to make it easier for the government to provide them preferential treatment according to their status.
They will be identified through different colour cards and get preferential treatment on education, health, agriculture, water and sanitation, and skill development.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), some 25.16 per cent — a quarter of the total population of 26.6 million — live below the poverty line as they earn less than Rs 54 a day or Rs 19,261 per year, according to the new poverty line drawn by the third Nepal Living Standard Survey.
The national poverty line that has been calculated on the basis of consumption which states that a person needs an intake of 2,220 calories per day has been recognised by the fund too — though there are various definitions of poverty — to start the pilot programme.
The increasing urban poverty incidence has made the fund start focusing on the urban poor too, besides shifting its focus on socio-economic transformation from the current programmes that have been providing the poor ‘relief’ only.
According to the third Nepal Living Standard Survey, urban poverty has increased significantly from what was recorded in the second survey. The urban population living below the poverty line was 21.55 per cent in fiscal year 1995-96 — during the first Nepal Living Standard Survey — which fell to 9.55 per cent in fiscal year 2003-04 — in the second Nepal Living Standard Survey (NLSS) — but the figure rose to 15.46 per cent in the third survey in fiscal year 2009-10. Similarly, the urban poverty gap has also increased to 3.19 per cent in the third survey from 2.20 per cent in the second survey.
The policy shift from the current programme — second phase — that will come to an end in mid-2014 and the fund have now added socio-economic transformation programme targeting at training the poor on entrepreneurship skills so that they can contribute to capital formation in the PAF III.

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