The Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoCPA) has said that it plans to conduct a recount of poor households in Gorkha, Tanahu, Sindhuli and Ramechhap districts citing a possible increase in the figure following the terrible earthquake.
Among the four districts, Gorkha, the epicentre of the April 25 earthquake , has been declared a highly quake-affected district.
As part of the first phase, the ministry had conducted a survey in these and 21 other districts to distribute poor ID cards, namely Achham, Bajhang, Bajura, Kailali, Jumla, Humla, Mugu, Dolpa, Kalikot, Jajarkot, Bardia, Rukum, Rolpa, Pyuthan, Arghakhanchi, Kapilvastu, Baglung, Rautahat, Siraha, Khotang and Bhojpur. Highly quake affected districts Dolakha, Sindhupalchok, Nuwakot and Rasuwa were not covered by the study.
Chintan Poudel, executive vice-chairman of the Poor Household Support Coordination Board Secretariat, an agency under the MoCPA, said they would be conducting a survey in these four districts soon. “Although we have formed an estimate of the number of poor households in these districts, the figure is likely to have been changed due to additional damage,” he said.
The board started conducting the survey in the 25 districts in September 2014 and completed it in mid-March. The study identified an estimated 400,000 households as being poor out of the total number of 1.25 million. “After conducting a reassessment of the poor in four districts, we will present a report to the Cabinet,” Poudel said.
Currently, an estimated 23.8 percent of the country’s population is under the poverty line. The distribution of poor ID cards is one of the ambitious programmes of the government to provide relief to them. ID card holders will get discounts on essential goods, agricultural inputs such as fertilisers and farm tools and services like education and health. The board has considered 16 indicators for households to be identified as being poor and eligible for the poor ID cards. According to Poudel, they include family size, education level and enrolment of children in private or public schools, type of house, income sources and the number of livestock owned by the household.
Similarly, the ownership of fixed property along with vehicles, availability of water taps, type of fuel used as the main source of energy, use of landline telephones and availability of toilets were also considered for identifying the poor. Among the 25 districts, remote districts like Achham, Mugu and Bajura have the largest number of poor households, according to the board’s preliminary report.
In the first stage, the MoCPA employed 2,810 enumerators and 414 supervisors to collect data. In the fashion of the population census, the enumerators went door-to-door to gather information, the board said.