Consultation on Food Security Act dwells on scarcity of essential commodities

IMPHAL, October 3: A one day state level consultation on the Right to Peoples’ Food Security in Manipur was held today at the Manipur Press Club organized by the Human Rights Initiative.

The consultation which mainly discussed the availability of essential commodities and the price rise was attended by people from all districts of the state.

Issues ranging from the suffering of the people due to the price hike and the indifferent statements and inconsiderate justifications for the food scarcity and food security act from the concerned authorities and the absence of an appropriate and effective grievance redressal mechanism were also discussed.  

Speaking on “PDS system in the state”, Advocate M Paikhomba said the Integrated Child Development Scheme, Targeted Public Distribution System, Mid-Day meal and Maternity Benefit Scheme are components of the National Food Security Act.

One major factor for the scarcity of PDS items in the state is the lack of awareness amongst the BPL, AAY families on how to avail their respective ration cards, he said.

As the targeted beneficiaries have failed to avail the PDS items due to their inability to get their ration cards, the concern suppliers take advantage of the situation and start siphoning off the PDS items, he observed.

The government has also failed to create the necessary awareness on the issue, which has only aggravated the problem, he continued.

In the past, the identification of beneficiaries and issue of ration cards was conducted by the Deputy Commissioner of a district, however, according to an August 3, 2005 official order of the Commissioner (FCS) had ordered that the local MLA will take over all such responsibilities from the DC, he said.

He said, the legislators have failed to take up the issue of PDS items distribution in the state ever since they themself took control over which has only affected the distribution of the PDS items in the state, he viewed.

Executive director, HRI Wahengbam Joykumar said the due to the failure of the Public Distribution System to provide essential food items to its people, and as such in 1997, it was newly modified as the Targeted Public Distribution System.

However, even after the new modifications, there were still several inconsistencies with the system, he said.

He further appealed to the people to avail the benefits to be provided under the Food Security Act.

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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