​Time to Reform the Food Welfare System in India?

​Time to Reform the Food Welfare System in India?

Recently in Trivandrum, Kerala’s capital, the Aam Aadmi Party and SVS the party’s apex Union protested the non-implementation of the “Food Security Act.” The AAP’s State Convener, CR Neelakandan and the Shramik Vikas Sangathan’s National Observer for 12 states, Saroj Sinha participated in the event on October 25, 2016 while also promoting minimum wage reform. The event was led by Melvin Vinod, District Convener of Trivandrum and his team.
SVS Minimum Wage Banner displayed at AAP Food Security Protest in Trivandrum 

While it is clear that government run food distribution systems result in waste and corruption, the non-implementation of the Act is also a problem because it makes even more urgent the need for reform.

 Most developing nations have food subsidies for the poor that rely on a government run distribution system that is invariably riddled with corruption and waste. They should learn from most of the more developed western nations who have done away with government run distribution of food welfare. Instead they supply benefits in the form of vouchers or cards that can be used at regular stores who are willing to deal with the additional paperwork.

Now that the Modi run, BJP government has the votes to make changes in India, concerned citizens in the Aam Aadmi Party are urging the implantation of the Act. Yet this is also an opportunity for Shramik Vikas Sangathan workers (SVS) and AAP volunteers to become familiar with the Right to Food Act passed by the previous Congress regime and suggest revisions. There is now once again, a chance for the new government to reduce waste and corruption that have historically bled the poorer populations of India.

Food Security is Still Essential: There is no doubt that the Indian population needs food security despite a growing percentage of GDP being spent on food subsidies. In 2012 some .75 percent of GDP was spent on national federal food subsidy programs. Estimates vary but some 1.2 percent of GDP will be spent on this program annually when the Food Security Act is fully implemented.  The cost of food security as a percentage of GDP will continue to increase gradually as grain, storage and delivery costs rise.

Key Features of the Legislation: The RTF Act:

Provides legal guarantees to 50 percent of India’s urban population and 75 percent of the rural population to receive 5 kg of cereals per month (wheat, rice and coarse grains for Rs 5, 3 and Rs. 1 per kg respectively. The poorest of the poor continue to be covered under the “Anthyodhana Anna Yojana” program with eligibility for 35 kgs. of subsidized cereals a month.

Empowers women by recognizing the oldest woman in each home as the head of the household for the purpose of obtaining ration cards. 

Provides for pregnant and lactating mothers to get nutritious meals and at least Rs 6,000 over six months. It also provides for meals or take home rations to children at risk.

Expenditure estimated for this program does not include similar programs at the state level where states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh have ambitious programs of their own. 

The AAP and SVS have been urging a carefully supervised implementation of the Act because India is still home to 25 percent of the world’s hungry population and the tragedy is that even the existing programs for the poor cope with an estimated 40 percent of waste and corruption that the system is riddled with. Experts indicate that the programs developed in Chattisgarh could be studied and possibly emulated in the relevant areas.

When passed, the new act was hailed as the biggest food subsidy program in the world with an estimated 1.3 lakh crores ($25 billion?) spent annually to purchase 62 million tonnes of grain, targeting 67 % of India’s population.

Aspects of the Act that remain matters of concern: 

Regrettably, the Act does not sufficiently involve local bodies like Panchayats at the implementation level even though Panchayat Ward members do have a say in the grievance redressal of the public, when people complain about the quantity and quality of grain being distributed through ration shops within their ward.

Vast amounts of black market grain swilling around the country tend to dampen open market prices, thereby discouraging future generations of farmers who are already turning away from farming at an alarming rate. 

The new law also has no sunset clause and would be difficult to withdraw later even if and when nutrition is adequate. 

Concerned citizens while pressing for the implementation of the Act are advised to hold the new government accountable for improving its implementation of the Act and “modi-fying” it.

 

Saroj Sinha, National Observer for the Shramik Vikas Sangathan speaks at a Press Conference in Kerala’s Capital, advocating a raise in the minimum wage for Kerala. Minimum wage is also a key aspect of Food Security. Also visible from left are: Pravin J. Philip, SVS Kerala Regional Coordinator (Central), CR Neelakandan, AAP State Convener, and Ashok George, SVS Regional Coordinator, (South)

This article was written in the public interest for concerned Indian citizens. If this issue interests you, feel free to share…

The author, Pravin Joseph Philip is an active member of the Aam Aadmi Party. He hails from Pathanamthitta District and currently serves as a Regional Coordinator for Kerala in the Shramik Vikas Sangathan. The SVS is the apex labour union of the AAP in Kerala. Feel free to send your comments and suggestions on this article to pravinjphilip@gmail.com

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The Great Train Robbery

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IST Meeting Minutes – Aug 28 2016

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കേരളചരിത്രത്തില്‍ അയ്യങ്കാളിയുടെസ്ഥാനം

ആംആദ്മിപാര്‍ട്ടി എറണാകുളം ജില്ല:

കളമശ്ശേരി മണ്ഡലം (27 ആഗസ്റ്റ്‌ 2016)…
എറണാകുളം ജില്ലയില്‍ ‘ചൂല്‍വിപ്ലവം 2019’ അതിന്‍റെ പാരമ്യത്തില്‍….
ഇന്ന് സൗത്ത് കളമശ്ശേരി ജംഗ്ഷനില്‍ വച്ചുനടന്ന ‘കേരളചരിത്രത്തില്‍ അയ്യങ്കാളിയുടെ സ്ഥാനം‘ അഥവാ ‘ഇഎംഎസ് മറന്ന അയ്യങ്കാളി’ എന്ന സംവാദത്തിലും അതിനോടൊപ്പം നടന്ന ‘വയനാടൻ ആദിവാസി സംഘത്തിന്റെ നാടൻ പാട്ടുമേളയും’ നൂറുകണക്കിന് ആളുകളെ ആകര്‍ഷിച്ചു…

എഎപി സംസ്ഥാന കണ്‍വീനര്‍ അഡ്വ.സി.ആര്‍ നീലകണ്ഠന്‍റെ അദ്ധ്യക്ഷതയില്‍ ചേര്‍ന്ന സംവാദം ഉത്ഘാടനം ചെയ്തുകൊണ്ട്  ശ്രീ.സണ്ണി കപ്രിക്കാട് ദളിത്‌മുന്നേറ്റത്തിന്റെ ആവശ്യകതയെപ്പറ്റി സംസാരിച്ചു..

കളമശ്ശേരി മണ്ഡലം കണ്‍വീനര്‍ ശ്രീ.പോള്‍ തോമസ്‌ സ്വാഗതംപറഞ്ഞു, ജില്ലാരാഷ്ട്രീയകാര്യസമിതി കണ്‍വീനര്‍ ശ്രീ.ഷാജഹാന്‍ നന്ദി രേഖപ്പെടുത്തി…
സംസ്ഥാന സെക്രട്ടറി ശ്രീ.അരുണ്‍ജോസഫ്‌, എറണാകുളം ജില്ലാ കണ്‍വീനര്‍ ശ്രീ.ഷക്കീര്‍ അലി തുടങ്ങിയവര്‍ നേതൃത്വംനല്‍കി, മുന്‍സംസ്ഥാന കമ്മിറ്റിയംഗം ശ്രീ.അജിത്‌ ജോയ് (മുന്‍ ഐപിഎസ്) സന്നിഹിതനായിരുന്നു..

ജില്ലയിലെ വിവിധ മണ്ഡലങ്ങളില്‍നിന്നുള്ള നിരവധി വോളന്റിയര്‍മാര്‍ പരിപാടിയില്‍ പങ്കെടുക്കുകയും നിരവധി പുതിയ ആളുകള്‍ ആംആദ്മിപാര്‍ട്ടി അംഗത്വം എടുക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു…
‘അഡ്ജസ്റ്റ്മെന്‍റ് രാഷ്ട്രീയം’ മടുത്ത കേരളജനത ആംആദ്മികളെ തേടിയെത്തിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നു…

ശക്തിപകരുക കേരളത്തിലെ ഈ പുതിയ രാഷ്ട്രീയ ചിന്തകള്‍ക്ക്….

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AAP ends protest at dumping yard.

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Wishing our Arvind Ji a Very Happy Birthday

Let’s present this page to Arvind Ji as a present on his Birthday. Please convey your wishes in the comments section.

Regards,

AAP Kerala Voulunteers

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AAP Kerala Membership Status

Count by District

Ernakulam – 14,100

Team @ AAP Forward

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Talk to AK – July 17th

Talk to AK

Talk to AK is a programme through which Sh. Arvind Kejriwal will directly interact/have a dialogue with people. Anyone interested, throughout the globe, can connect with Sh. Kejriwal through the website:www.talktoak.com.

They can also call and talk to Sh. Kejriwal through the phone number: 011-23392999 on July 17 at 11 am.

Those interested in sending questions can log in their questions on the websitewww.talktoak.com or send in their SMS on 8130344141.

Sh. Kejriwal is known for taking everyone along. This is an attempt to add more and more people to discuss the ideas, problems etc through this campaign. Sh. Kejriwal through the website will connect with more and more people and thus take their ideas and share his views with them on several issues plaguing the society.

The event won’t be a one way monologue and rather be a two way communication.

Twitter Handle: @talktoak_

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TalkToAK

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AAP Kothamangalam – Meeting

ആംആദ്മിപാര്‍ട്ടി കോതമംഗലം നിയോജകമണ്ഡലം:

ഇന്നലെ (July 10th 2016)നടന്ന യോഗത്തില്‍വച്ച്‌
പുതിയ കോതമംഗലം നിയോജകമണ്ഡലം ഭാരവാഹികളെ തിരഞ്ഞെടുത്തു.
ശ്രീ.രവി പുന്നക്കാട് കണ്‍വീനറായും, ശ്രീ.നൗഷാദ് പല്ലാരിമംഗലം കോ-കണ്‍വീനറായും, ശ്രീ. ഷിജുവിനെ സെക്രട്ടറിയായും ശ്രീ.മാര്‍ട്ടിന്‍ ട്രഷററായും ചുമതലയേറ്റു..

എറണാകുളം ജില്ലാകണ്‍വീനര്‍ ശ്രീ.ഷക്കീര്‍അലി, എഎപി ആന്റി കറപ്ഷന്‍ വിംഗ് ചുമതലവഹിക്കുന്ന ശ്രീ.ജീജോ നെടുംകല്ലേല്‍, ജില്ലാ രാഷ്ട്രീയകാര്യ ചുമതലയുള്ള ശ്രീ.ഷാജഹാന്‍, ശ്രീ.മനോജ്‌ ഔസെഫ് തുടങ്ങിയവര്‍ പങ്കെടുത്തു…

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Arvind Kejriwal And The AAM AADMI Party

Discussion about the book and the author – Pran Kurup

Venue : Ernakulam Town Hall
Date and Time: July 9th 2 PM

All are invited.

image

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