Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday called for an in-depth analysis into factors leading to the shortfall in achieving targets for income and food security and social justice.
Development is not merely about increasing the rates of economic growth, but also about increasing the access of citizens to basic needs such as nutrition, health, education and gainful employment, Singh said at the national colloquium on poverty alleviation, food security and right to development to mark the National Legal Literacy Day.
Singh, however, pointed that the combination of the National Rural Employment Guarantee and the RTI Acts provided a potent base for expanding the rights of citizens vis-à-vis the state in ensuring equity and social justice. He called NREG Act “a fundamental step” towards the realization of the right to work and elimination of poverty.
Emphasising on the need for a substantial improvement in the resource generation capacities of governments for enhancing the effectiveness of purposeful state interventions for the realization of basic human rights of citizens, the Prime Minister said it was also essential that the resources of civil society were fully mobilized for promoting public-private partnership in the administration of development programs. It is equally necessary to improve the quality of governance at all levels of public administration to curb leakages and plug loopholes, he said.
A framework for ensuring the realization of the basic human rights had been put in place by the UPA government. This, he added, was just the beginning in this direction.
Ruing the fact that millions of children continued to remain malnourished despite food self-sufficiency having been achieved three decades ago, Singh felt that that the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) and their state counterparts could help the poor achieve their Right to Food through existing government programs by raising public awareness. NALSA’s legal awareness program should also help our senior citizens secure the various entitlements such as the National Old Age Pension Scheme, he added.
The Prime Minister also advised the NALSA to assist social audits of the NREGA by working with people’s movements, trade unions, NGOs and other civil society groups.