MPs need to practice what they preach.
By setting the bar for what constitutes poverty ridiculously low, they have managed to make their government come out looking a winner.
In one fell stroke, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of the morass of poverty -- from 37 per cent of the population being poor at the time the UPA came to power, the figure has come down to 21 per cent, we are told.
It's silly we never realised what sleight of hand is capable of achieving. And just in case everyone was not convinced, the UPA deployed its leaders to give us the nitty- gritty of this economics.
So we have had politicians -- the same lot that lives the high life in Lutyens Delhi -- tell us on TV and elsewhere how little it takes to survive in India. Inflation may have stung the common man hard but meals can be had for ` 12, ` 5 or even a rupee for that matter, these worthies have informed us. The not- sowell- off have a habit of whining about their station in life, seems to be the subtext of this narrative. It's not so bad out there in the shanty towns and slums which dot the landscape of this country.
Maybe it is. Maybe the UPA's eminences have mastered the art of husbandry in a way the deprived and underprivileged India hasn't.
But since the proof of the pudding is in its eating, it's only fair to expect them to show us how this is done. So for just 30 days, this tribe of leaders -- led by the venerable Montek Singh Ahluwalia under whose guidance this farcical exercise has been carried out -- must practise what they are preaching.
If they can live on the city's streets with the daily stipend they deem enough, slaving it out from morning till evening and still hold their ground on what is poverty and what isn't, we will take them seriously.
Politicos need to show the way since the poor don't know how to live on ` 12
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