The Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation has started collecting data of poor households in 25 districts.
The coordination committee will distribute poor identification cards — that will help the government categorise the poor into three categories and provide them preferential treatment — after the data collection in the first phase that includes 25 selected districts.
Data collection has started in four districts — Bajhang, Bajura, Achham and Kailali — in far western; 10 districts — Kalikot, Mugu, Humla, Jumla, Dolpa, Rolpa, Pyuthan, Rukum, Jajarkot and Bardiya — of mid-western; five districts — Gorkha, Tanahun, Kapilbastu, Baglung and Argakhanchhi — of western; three districts — Sindhuli, Ramechhap and Rautahat — of central; and three districts — Bhojpur, Khotang and Siraha — of eastern regions.
Earlier, the first board meeting of the coordination committee on September 6, had planned to start data collection from September 17, 2012, from the selected districts which had the maximum number of poor households to distribute the poverty identification cards in the first phase but the plan did not materialise.
Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) had identified 25 districts for the first phase of distribution of identity cards for poor households on the basis of the number of poor households, Small Area Estimation prepared by Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and some 12 analysis of the third Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS).
The remaining districts will be targetted in the second and third phases, respectively.
According to PAF, the poor identification card will be distributed in three phases with 25 districts in each phase. Each phase is expected to last for two months.
PAF has planned to distribute three colour identity cards — for those who do not have enough to eat for three months, six months and nine months — and the government will provide subsidies and relief packages accordingly.
According to the plan, a Centralised Household Information System will look after the whole process of the card distribution after the testing of Proxy Means scoring before identifying the poor households, though the district coordination committee led by District Development Committee (DDC) — that will also include local development officers and assistant chief district officers besides chiefs of various government agencies in the district — will distribute the cards.
The database of the poor households will be kept at the district level committee and the committee will also listen to the grievances of the public.
The Village Development Committee (VDC) will collect the data of poor households and publish it.
The current three-year Interim Plan — that will come to an end on July 15 — has envisioned the identification of poor households and distribution of poor identification cards.According to CBS, around 25.16 per cent of the total population of 26.6 million live below the poverty line as they earn less than Rs 54 a day. The national poverty line has been calculated on the basis of consumption which states that a person needs 2,220 calories per day.