What is economics, if not an art of huckstering? It “came into being as a natural result of the expansion of trade, and with its appearance elementary, unscientific huckstering was replaced by a developed system of licensed fraud, an entire science of enrichment” (Engels). Montek S Ahluwalia or even Manmohan Singh for that matter are good Economists, in the sense that they make a good support team for modern-day huckstering. But remember huckstering does not rely on truth, but speculations. They speculate on everything, then why not on poverty? What more do we expect from these “modern bagmen of free trade”? They regard “the proletarian (aam aadmi)… like a horse” (Marx), and there are enough horses around to replace one, so why bother feeding them well?
Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen conceded that “anyone who wants to see India looking very rosy would like having low poverty line”. “The (poverty) number can not have any normative basis. It (any poverty number) is arbitrary thing in many ways,” he added.