Posted by: kcgadiyar | January 9, 2012

A reality show idea: “Poverty Line”

A few days ago me and a couple of friends were discussing the 32 Rupees a day cap to be denoted as below poverty line. Everyone completely agreed that the Planning Commission has goofed up majorly on this aspect. 32 rupees a day can buy next to nothing and claiming that anyone earning less than that is truly poor while 33 a day is not is stupidity of the highest order.

My reaction after the “This is complete nonsense” was that “This will make a good experiment”. I first thought of trying to live on 32 rupees a day for a week (a month would have been too long), but then i realized that i wouldn’t last half a day (even the canteen food in office costs more than that, add in transport and it will be impossible on my part to stay on 32 rupees a day)

My immediate thought following that was “This will make a cool reality show” in a similar model like “Survivor”. So, here is my reality show idea, tentative title “Towing the poverty line” or just “Poverty Line”.

Basic concept:

10 people from all walks of life are brought together for one month. They are then taken to a village somewhere in U.P. or TN or wherever appropriate and divided into 2 groups who will compete against each other throughout the month. Here is the kicker though: They will each be given 1000 rupees (approx 32 rupees a day) and nothing else. No place to stay, no food, no nothing. They are left in a village or a small town and the groups have to fend for themselves.

They will need to negotiate a house for 5 people for a month within the budget they have (since i assume the groups won’t band together and try to find one place for 10 people to stay), food, and any amenities needed. They are not barred from finding daily-wage jobs which can help them collect extra money on the side.

The Game:

Once every 3-4 days, the teams compete against each other for small prizes which will seem much bigger to them as they are living on next to nothing. Prizes may be like a 5 liter can of mineral water, a meal in a small restaurant for all the people, a mobile phone with 100 minutes of talk-time so that they can call home. Basically, the little things in life (as we say, the little things in life matter)

The losing team needs to send someone home (this may be good for some people since the winners will have to continue living on a shoe-string budget). Whoever is sent home will have their money divided equally among the members of his/her team.

The USP:

Unlike in reality shows like “Big Brother” or “Survivor”, here contestants are living and working and going about their tasks among real people. There is no set, the town is real, the people are real, the negotiations for food, lodging, work etc. will all be real.

So this can be India’s first real “reality” show.

The Prize:

I dunno, whatever the channel/sponsors are willing to put up.

What it will achieve:

TRPs 🙂

Proving that 32 rupees a day can be lived on?

Achieve a nice little social experiment

So, what do you guys think? Can this work? and will you watch?

(No, i am not pitching this to anyone, just putting this idea out there to prove how ridiculous the 32 rupees a day limit is.)



  1. That’s a nice Idea, but I think the winner of the Task should send someone home because that’s the biggest reward. Also they get to nominate which of the members of the losing team will NOT participate in the next task.

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