NAC heading for confrontation with PM’s panel
Heading for further confrontation with Prime Minister’s Office, Sonia Gandhi headed National Advisory Council will soon issue a paper to counter the PM’s Expert Committee’s claim that its proposed National Food Security law cannot be implemented.
In its first indication of the confrontation, the NAC on Friday issued a draft of the proposed food security law as per its recommendations to the government in October 2010 to cover 75 % of the country’s population – 90 % in rural parts and atleast 50 % in urban areas.
The committee headed by C Rangarajan, head of PM Economic Advisory Council, had rejected the NAC recommendations saying they were not feasible considering projected food availability and large subsidy implications (of Rs 92,000 crore).
It instead suggested that the proposed law should cover only new below poverty line population of 46 % in rural areas and 28 % in urban areas as recommended by Tendulkar Committee.
“NAC is sticking to its 23 October recommendation,” said council member Narendra Jhadav, while confirming that the committee’s recommendations were discussed. The government has, however, not sent the committee’s report to NAC.
Most of the NAC members criticized the committee’s recommendation saying it indicated the government unwillingness to provide a broad food security cover to Indians and termed NAC recommendations as “realistic”.
“If the government can give relief to thousands of crores of rupees to the industry why a similar money is not being provided for nutritional security of the country,” a NAC member said, who was not willing to be quoted.
Some members also circulated a critique of the committee’s recommendation at the meeting, which will now be considered by NAC’s working group to prepare an analytical report to be discussed at the council’s next meeting on February 26.
The council’s draft law proposes a public distribution system (PDS) where vulnerable in the priority category will get 35 kg of food grains every month at a maximum price of Rs three per kg. For the general category the price proposed is half of maximum support price for entitlement of 20 kg per month.
It also says the PDS shops will be managed by community committees instead of government officials. Instead of the Central government, the state governments will be encouraged to procure food grains for PDS, the proposed law says.
The NAC also aims to bring food entitlement schemes such as Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), midday meal, nutrition take home rations for children under three and lactating mothers and maternity entitlements of Rs 1,000 month for six months fro pregnant mothers within the ambit of the law.
The council also decided to ask the government to ensure that all in the priority category and all scheduled caste and scheduled tribes should be included in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) census.
The council also of the view that the government’s proposed Right to Information (RTI) rules will dilute the RTI rules.
For the uninitiated, Dhan Mill Compound, a former granary and a cluster of warehouses, has morphed into the city’s modish food, fashion, design and lifestyle destination. Its streets are lined with art cafes, home décor outlets, ateliers, art galleries, pottery studios, dance halls and high-end boutiques, whose facades and interiors are as interesting and experimental as the wares they deal in. Interestingly, all of these fancy establishments are housed in re-purposed warehouse buildings, which still have metal roofs.
According to a Delhi government official, a break-up of the total jobs, including the list of employers and the number of people they hired, will be shared “in a couple of days”. Notably, the government portal was launched by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on July 27, 2020, to help entry-level and blue-collar job seekers connect with employers at a time when the Covid-19 induced lockdown left many people unemployed.
“Manufactures, and start-ups which are working on alternatives to single-use plastic have to pay more GST for raw material. Hence, the Delhi government will write to the Centre and request a reduction in GST rates,” Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said.
Safdarjung, Delhi’s base weather station, recorded 0.1mm of rainfall between 8:30am and 5:30pm on Sunday. The Capital recorded 1.9mm of rainfall on Saturday and 117.2mm on Friday, making the monthly total 119.2mm so far. The normal monthly average for July is 210.6mm, said weather experts.
Monsoon elevates Adam Khan’s tomb into an emergency sanctuary for passersby (and dogs) speared by sudden showers. Perched atop a Mehrauli hillock, the monument overlooks the Qutub Minar, which appears totally bechara and defenceless in the heavy rain.