"The CPI-M considers the Planning Commission's poverty estimates to be a dishonest attempt to conceal the reality of glaring inequalities and increasing poverty in India," it said in a statement.

It asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to promise "that these fraudulent poverty measures will not be used to deny poor people of their right to BPL cards or be used as a benchmark for allocating funds to the states or for welfare programmes".

Despite criticism, the Planning Commission has retained the poverty levels suggested by the Tendulkar Committee: Rs.22.40 a day for an adult in rural areas and Rs.28.65 a day for an adult in urban areas.

"Anyone spending more that this is being categorized as non-poor," the CPI-M said. "On the basis of these flawed figures, the Planning Commission claims the proportion of BPL persons has gone down by seven percent from 2004-05 to 2009-10.

"This shows the huge gap between the Planning Commission and the reality lived by crores of people in this country.

"It is a shame that an institution chaired by the prime minister should produce such absurd figures."

The statement said: "What is shocking is that even with these gross under-estimates, large proportions of our population are shown to continue living in destitution.

The proportion ranges from 37-39 percent in states like Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha to around 50 percent in Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

"Shockingly, the northeastern states of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland are showing an increase in destitution levels. This calls the bluff of 'inclusive growth' under the UPA government."