. Under this Bill, the population will be divided into three groups: priority, general and excluded.
Food Security Bill
Each group is to have different entitlements under the public distribution system (PDS): major entitlements, token benefits and nothing, respectively
no clarity, however, as to how these groups are to be identified - the Bill leaves it to the central government to specify identification criteria to be applied by state governments
BPL census was conducted every few years to identify BPL families, based on some sort of scoring system
Until now, the main beneficia-ries of the PDS were "below poverty line" (BPL) familie
cut-off scores were supposed to be set state-wise in such a manner that the proportion of families with a score below the cut-off (i.e. BPL families) matched the proportion of families below the poverty line according to the Planning Commission's poverty estimates
this approach is very unreliable and divisive
three independent national surveys (the National Sample Survey, National Family Health Survey and India Human Development Survey) show that about half of all poor families in rural India did not have a BPL card in 2004-05.
Many states, however, have moved away from BPL targeting in recent years, and extended the PDS well beyond the BPL category - Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, among others
this move seems to have helped them to improve their PDS by creating a broader and stronger constituency for it.
It effectively reimposes BPL targeting under another name, that too based on rigid national criteria
NFSB threatens to undermine this positive trend
Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), which seems to be expected to identify priority households, is much the same as earlier BPL censuses
the hit or miss approach involved in BPL censuses is bad enough when the PDS is run as a scheme
A legal right cannot leave any ambiguity as to who is entitled to it.
he government asserted that the SECC would actually be a departure from the earlier BPL methodology
it promised to stop setting state-wise caps on the BPL list based on official poverty estimates
it is far from clear how the identification process would work without poverty caps
There is a simple way out of this mess: abolish the distinction between general and priority groups and give all households a common minimum entitlement under the PDS unless they meet well defined exclusion criteria
target the rich ins-tead of trying to target the poor.
This simplified framework would be relatively practical, transparent, equitable and politically appealing
people would be clear about their entitlements, making it much more likely that the Bill will succeed
in its present form, it will be very difficult to implement
It will also undermine, instead of supporting, the recent trend towards a more inclusive PDS in many states.
India requires a comprehensive policy to prevent sex selection
use of sex selection technologies to abort female foetuses is linked to the increasing devaluation and disempowerment of women
present framework of economic policies has acted as an engine for crass consumerism glorified by a powerful media
determine the status of a person through the ownership of luxury good
coercive two-child policy being promoted by governments
State governments use coercive and undemocratic methods to enforce the two-child norm
“ Hum do hamare do ” is often translated as “ Hum do hamare do ladke .
any comprehensive policy must target these faulty population control policies
It was said that it is better to abort the female foetus than give birth to an unwanted baby girl who will face discrimination all her life
present campaigns of the government against female foeticide are hypocritical and superficial
strong links between sections of a powerful medical fraternity who make profits through the use of sex-selection technologies and politicians and bureaucrats has made a mockery of the legal provisions.
only a few cases are filed in the courts and there are hardly any convictions
Since 1994 when the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) law was enacted there have been only 93 convictions
For over a decade, the Medical Council of India refused to change its rules to include sex selection as a ground to delicense doctors
law alone can never rid society of crimes linked to systemic discrimination and oppression
Issues of women's economic rights, of employment, of rights in decision making are critical in policies to enhance women's status
By only targeting communication to families and ignoring mass crimes committed by unethical doctors and remaining silent on the vested interests of the ultrasound companies, India is unlikely to stop the ongoing genocide against the next generation of women
After having repeatedly stated that progress based around the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, which has to do with devolution of powers, was his government's roadmap towards finding a solution to the ethnic problem
13th Amendment itself (a result of the India-Lanka accord of 1987), has been hotly debated and opposed by both Tamils and the Sinhalese
devolution, with a change in political and administrative powers, is the sole possible long-term solution to the conflict
Colombo's own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission
stressed that devolution is central for genuine reconciliation based on a political solution.
a genuine democratic debate and ethos seem to be missing in Sri Lanka.
it seems to be openly backtracking, which must be roundly condemned.
Significant rise in paddy production in the eastern belt has boosted the overall foodgrains situation
slight shortfall in coarse cereals and pulses production
Bihar and Jharkhand, known as laggard states in farm production and productivity, had outperformed in paddy yields
Rice output in Bihar has more than doubled
trebled in Jharkhand
Helped by winter rains, wheat production is set for an all-time record
output of pulses is expected to be slightly lower at 17.28 million tonnes as also of oilseeds at 30.53 million tonnes due to diversification of significant area to cotton in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan