'Link food bill to agriculture'

Civil society groups oppose cash transfer policy


Prasanna Mohanty | April 21, 2010

Civil society groups campaigning for the right to food have urged the government to urge a range of issues including revitalising agriculture to make the proposed National Food Security Bill effective.

They have written a letter to Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, pointing out that the proposed bill has a narrow focus and would fail to address the real issues.

The letter, signed by Jean Dreze, Aruna Roy, Sandeep Pandey and others, provides a six-point charter of issues that should be addressed simultaneously while framing the bill, rather than restricting it to providing 25 kg of food grain to a certain number of BPL families.

The first point in the charter says the proposed bill should be linked to revitalising and incentivising agriculture production. The government must provide incentives for production of pulses, oil seeds and millet too, and not just wheat and rice. Until malnutrition is eradicated, there should be a ban on export of food items and GM crops. Corporate bodies should be kept out.

The second point refers to reversing the policy of targeted PDS to the universal PDS system with an emphasis on setting up local grain banks. The civil society groups are against Ahluwalia’s suggestion of a cash transfer policy. “We categorically reject cash transfer replacing food transfer under any nutrition-related scheme,” they assert and go on to explain that the cash transfer system can’t keep with inflation.

“Moreover, there is danger of cash being expropriated for use other than food and women and children being made vulnerable to hunger.”

In addition to ration, others measures like pension schemes, antyodyay cards and cooked meals etc should continue for protection of socially discriminated and vulnerable groups .

The charter also warns against any dilution of the Supreme Court orders regarding ICDS, mid-day meals, family pension scheme, old-age pension etc. Special emergency measures in time of disaster and in case of starvation-like situation should also be adopted.

Finally, the charter speaks of an effective grievance redressal system to ensure stiff punishment for wrong doers and transparency in the system.

The charter of demands was prepared after all the civil society groups gathered in New Delhi to deliberate on the issue and express their protest against the proposed food bill which, they think, falls short of their expectations.




Other News

Making sense of facts – and alternative facts

The Art of Conjuring Alternate Realities: How Information Warfare Shapes Your World By Shivam Shankar Singh and Anand Venkatanarayanan HarperCollins / 284 pages / Rs 599 Professor Noam Chomsky, linguist and public intellectual, has often spoken of &ls

The Manali Trance: Economics of Abandoning Caution in the Time of Coronavirus

The brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India has left a significant death toll in its wake. Health experts advise that the imminent third wave can be delayed by following simple measures like wearing a mask and engaging in social distancing. However, near the end of the second wave, we witnesse

Govt considers fixing driving hrs of commercial vehicles

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has emphasised deciding driving hours for truck drivers of commercial vehicles, similar to pilots, to reduce fatigue-induced road accidents. In a Na

Telecom department simplifies KYC processes for mobile users

In a step towards Telecom Reforms which aim to provide internet and tele connectivity for the marginalised section, the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communica

Mumbai think tank calls for climate action

Raising concerns over rising seawater levels and climate change, Mumbai First, a 25-year-old public-private partnership policy think tank, has written letters to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, minister for environment and climate change, tourism and protocol, Aditya Thackeray and Mumbai munic

Creation of ‘good bank’ as important as ‘bad bank’ for NPA management

After the recent announcement of the government guarantee for Security Receipts (SRs) to be issued by a public sector-owned National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL), there is a surge of interest around this desi version of a super bad bank. The entity will acquire around ₹2 trillion bad debts fr

Visionary Talk: Gurcharan Das, Author, Commentator & Public Intellectual on key governance issues


Current Issue


Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter