ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Implementing Food Security

Apropos the article “Lessons on Food  and Hunger: Pedagogy of Empathy for Democracy” by Anita Rampal, Harsh Mander (EPW, 13 July 2013), I do agree with the authors when they write, "With the unprecedented stocks of foodgrains, the paradox of high levels of hunger and malnutrition in times of abundance”. There is a lack of planning and implementation not only in this case but in many others. And that is why the many different programmes of the government have not been able to bring the poor above the poverty line. Without proper implementation, laws have no meaning.

Take the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) as an example. It has been designed meticulously but some officers have been diluting its implementation. There are many cases which illustrate this. Jean Dreze in his article, “Employment Guarantee or Slave Labour” published in The Hindu (20 September 2009), put it well when he asserted, “The delays in NREGA wage payments are not just operational hurdles – they reflect a deliberate attack on the Scheme.” As a faculty member of the National Institute of Rural Development, while visiting villages across the country, I have observed that many villagers are not well acquainted with the MNREGA and its provisions. Those who demand their rights are often attacked, as happened to Subal Mahato of Bhatua village, in Bokaro district of Jharkhand who was beaten to death for seeking revised MGNREGA wages.

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