In the year-end festive season, this is a special two-part RTF update. The first focuses on the implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) at this crucial juncture as almost half the country’s districts reel under drought conditions.
National Food Security Act: This updated map and this detailed table (inclusion and exclusion criterion, eligibility lists of beneficiaries and toll free helplines) depict the rollout of the NFSA across India based on statements by the central and state governments. But they do not necessarily reflect the situation on the ground, especially in the states which have recently launched the Act.
Uttar Pradesh: Uttar Pradesh, where 50 of the 75 districts have been affected by deficit rainfall, was to launch the NFSA on 1st December 2015 in three phases till April 2016. But in Bundelkhand the situation is dire. Families are forced to eat rotis made of grass, farmers are mired in debt and out-migration rampant in a situation of official denial of hunger and man-made starvation [Hindi]. A survey conducted by Swaraj Abhiyan in October also found that in 30 days, 39% families had not consumed dal even once, 60% had not consumed any milk and 14% admitted going to bed hungry at least once. Here is the Hindi survey questionnaire designed by Jean Drèze, which can be modified by other states. For more details, contact Arundhati Dhuru at arundha...@gmail.com
Odisha: The NFSA was officially rolled-out on 2nd October and subsidised grain was distributed from early November in 14 districts. But there has been some confusion on the ground at a time when 26 of 30 districts have been affected by drought. The Dongria Kondhs have been denied Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) cards, that they are automatically eligible for as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). Last month, the Odisha Khadya Adhikar Abhiyan also organised a Lok Adhikar Yatra which converged in Sambalpur. For more details, please contact Raj Kishore Mishra at rajkish...@gmail.com and Bidyut Mohanty at bidyut...@gmail.com
Jharkhand: The NFSA was formally launched on 25th September, but the distribution of new ration cards has been fraught. The state campaign organised a two-day training program to monitor the implementation of the Act. A one-page survey proforma, guidelines and a software program have also been designed to match the list of eligible beneficiaries from the state government website with the Census 2011 Primary Census Abstract population database, which can be adopted by other state campaigns too. For more details, please contact Dheeraj Kumar at rtfcjh...@gmail.com
Jammu and Kashmir: There has been sustained opposition to the NFSA by some opposition parties and citizens who have taken to the streets to demand that their original guarantee of 35 kilos per person be retained instead of 5 kilos per person.
But on the positive front, there have been a few important developments:
West Bengal: In a welcome development the state government has announced that with an additional expenditure from its own coffers, it will expand the coverage to 80-85% of the population eligible for foodgrains under the Act. This will expand coverage from the current 3.33 crore people in the state to almost 9 crore. In September-October the state campaign had organised an NFSA awareness campaign with motorbike rallies on 5 routes. For more details, please contact Anuradha Talwar at pbk...@gmail.com and Fr.Jothi at jot...@gmail.com
Swaraj Abhiyan: The Supreme Court has sought responses of the Centre and 8 drought-hit states (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Odisha and Jharkhand) on a petition by Swaraj Abhiyan to provide food-grains guaranteed under National Food Security Act to all affected. The next hearing is on 4th January 2016.
Antyodaya Anna Yojana Restored: Some months ago, the Food Ministry had proposed the winding-up the AAY category to provide 35 kilograms of subsidised foodgrain to ‘poorest of the poor’ families over time. But after much opposition by the campaign and civil society, that provision has been dropped. The original and modified orders are here. Do spread the word and ensure that eligible vulnerable families receive their AAY cards.
Dal in PDS: With the increase in prices of pulses and uproar in Parliament, the central government has instructed the states to provide pulses through the public distribution system. The Agriculture Ministry has also apparently offered to make pulses available for the PDS. But few states (see table here) already provide pulses and oil through ration shops. Many more need to follow suit.
South Asia Right to Food Meeting
Right to Food Campaign
Steering Group Meeting
Right to Food Campaign
Bangladesh Right to Food Convention
Bangladesh Right to Food Forum
Right to Food Campaign Jharkhand
13 - 17 December
Lok Adhikar Yatra
various organisations including the state Right to Food Campaign
From 1st December
Soochna evum Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan
28th Nov - 3rd December
Fact finding mission to investigate starvation deaths in tea gardens
Kolkata Press Club
Press Club of India
West Bengal and New Delhi
FIAN International, Global Network on Right to Food and Nutrition, IUF, RTF Campaign India, Right to Food Network, Nepal and Right to Food Network, Bangladesh
Press Conference Invite, Media Coverage
South Asia Right to Food Workshop
Oxfam and FAO
The second part of the RTF Updates on non-NFSA issues will be released tomorrow.
Secretariat, Right to Food Campaign