A total of 1,359 families were added to the list of below-poverty-line households in Gujarat in the last two years, the state government said in the Assembly on Tuesday, The New Indian Express reported.

The Union government’s parameters say that a person who spends Rs 33.3 a day in urban areas and Rs 27.2 in rural areas is considered to be below the poverty line.

As on January 31, there were over 31.67 lakh below-poverty-line households in the state. While 1,359 families were added to the list of below-poverty-line households, 11 families were removed from the list in 2021 and 2022.

The district of Amreli registered the highest number (425) of families that have been added to the below-poverty-line list, The Indian Express reported. Amreli was followed by Sabarkantha (301), Banaskantha (199), Anand (168) and Junagadh (149) districts.

In the updated list, Banaskantha has the highest number (2.37 lakh) of families living below the poverty line, followed by Dahod (2.25 lakh).

States carry out surveys on the basis of the Union government’s parameters to identify below poverty line households. The Gujarat government on Tuesday told the state Assembly that the last such survey was conducted in 2002-03.

Economist Hemant Kumar Shah told The New Indian Express that a fresh survey was desperately needed after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In 1999-2000, the number of poor families was 26.19 lakhs, but it has now risen to 31 lakhs, so within a span of 22 years, the number of BPL families has increased, and if the government conducts a new survey, I am sure another five lakhs will be added,” Shah said.

Shah added that although Gujarat’s per capita income is significantly above the national average, the wealth has not percolated to the poorest sections of society.