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Centre, States faulted for `failure' of PDS

Staff Reporter

"System needs to be streamlined to ensure food security for all"


  • "Under the present liberalisation policy, poor were being even more marginalized"
  • Criticises new set of criteria to identify BPL families
  • "Women's empowerment dependent on food security"



    ON THE SIDELINES: CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat converses with Chandrama Pradhan of Rourkela at a meeting of AIDWA in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. — Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty .

    BHUBANESWAR: The vice-president of the All India Democratic Women's Association and Rajya Sabha MP, Brinda Karat, on Saturday criticised both the Centre and State Governments for the failure of the public distribution system that led to the denial of foodgrain to innumerable poor families.

    The system needs to be streamlined to ensure food security for all, she said. Addressing a large number of women at a seminar on "Alternative Food Policy for Food Security" here, Ms. Karat said under the present liberalisation policy, the poor were marginalised even further.

    Fight among poor

    "The poor people are being divided into various groups, whereby they are now fighting at various levels to prove that they belonged to the group that lived below the poverty line," she said. Ms. Karat also criticised the new set of criteria proposed by the Centre to identify below poverty line families. The criteria that any family that earned Rs. 11 a day or had three sarees for the woman would be included in the BPL list was ridiculous.

    Ms. Karat said women's empowerment would not be possible until every poor family got rice at a subsidised rate to ensure that enough was left for the woman, who took her meals after other family members had theirs.

    A large number of poor families had not found mention in existing BPL lists in most parts of the country, she said.

    Referring to the remarks of Orissa Minister for Revenue, Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Manmohan Samal that families under the Antyodaya Yojana and such other schemes could write to him if they did not get enough rice, she said such a measure would flood post offices with letters.

    Ms. Karat said many States had not implemented the Supreme Court order passed in May 2003 to ensure supply of rice under the Antyodaya scheme to widows and those deserted by their husbands. She urged Mr. Samal to take necessary steps in this regard.

    Spending huge amounts to store excess foodgrain will not solve the problem until it reached the poor, she said.

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