Friday, December 7, 2012

'PDS responsible for malnutrition'

Gujarat EDN
DNA  01SEP2012

Public distribution system (PDS) is inefficient in state, say experts at a meet
DNA Correspondent

Ann Suraksha Adhikaar’s (ASA) quarterly meet, which was held at Behaviourial Science Centre (BSC), St Xavier’s College on Sunday to discuss issue of malnutrition among children and young women, saw presence of NGO workers and leaders of self-help groups. It was lamented at the meet that poor do not get their share of food grains and other essentials, which is their right under various government schemes.

Inefficiency of Public Distribution System (PDS) was held responsible for the condition. Sharifa Chhipa from Nisva said she had to go to the concerned officer every month to ensure that poor and destitute women, who have received food coupons under Annbrahma scheme, get their share of the food grains. “Yet many times, officials say they don’t have requisite food grains and turn the women away,” said Chhipa. She also talked of discrimination on basis of caste and religion.

Nanjibhai from Banaskantha alleged that PDS officials ensured that food grains do not reach BPL (Below Poverty Line) cardholders. “Many cardholders do not get their share because either shopkeepers or concerned officials feign that they haven’t received the requisite quantity,” said Nanjibhai.

With Centre mulling a food security bill, it is time the state implemented something on similar lines to ensure food for all, believes Neeta Hardikar of ASA. The quarterly meeting was attended by representatives of groups working in the poorest blocks of Banaskantha, Dahod and Panchmahals. Convenor of the meet, Sunita Thakkar said, “It’s sad that Centre decides what and how much we eat. What we need is a decentralised system that takes into account local realities and comes up with local solutions.”