NGO points out ‘exclusion errors’ in PDS

first_imgAs Odisha is set to roll out its own food security scheme from October 2, Rupayaan, a non-government organisation working on food and nutrition issues, has written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the exclusion and inclusion errors in the public distribution system and suggested measures to strengthen the programme in the State.Congratulating Mr. Patnaik for the decision to start the scheme for an additional 34.44 lakh people, Rajkishor Mishra, director of Rupayaan and former State advisor to the Commissioners of Supreme Court on Right to Food case, said he hoped that it will pave the way for universalising PDS in the State.On the process of identification and selection of beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act, Mr. Mishra said that fixing the number of beneficiaries on the basis of 2011 census has been a major reason for large-scale exclusion error in the underdeveloped districts of Odisha.Ignored factorsThe other major reasons for exclusion of beneficiaries have been the intra-State allotment made following the simple rule of aggregate ST and SC population and ignoring multiple deprivation factors such as migration at the district level. This has created a paradox where districts like Balasore, Boudh, Jajpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada come in the same bracket of 100% (i.e. 77% of total population), Mr. Mishra said.Nuapada district has more OBC population compared to ST and SC combined, and they are equally poor and have been migrating seasonally. However, while allocating the quota, these districts are being kept on par with Jajpur and Balasore. This has created problems at both the districts – exclusion error in Nuapada and probably inclusion error in Balasore and Jajpur, he pointed out.Mr. Mishra further said that there was no clear-cut guideline for intra-district allotment. In Kalahandi, tribal-dominated blocks of Thuamul Rampur and Lanjigarh were treated on par with irrigated blocks of Junagarh and Jaipatna, which put tribal regions in a disadvantaged position.District Collectors should be given a free hand for reallocating the quota based on development criteria set by the State government to further minimise exclusion and inclusion error at district and sub-district level, he added.Stating that food availability has decreased at the household level with transition from family entitlement to individual entitlement under the NFSA, Mr. Mishra suggested that the government should follow positive discrimination at the State, district and sub-district-level while making allotment, and underdeveloped areas be given utmost priority.Mr. Mishra said the government should also consider diversification of PDS and include dal, salt, edible oil and millet for ensuring nutrition security.last_img

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