News Alerts

Floods expose anomalies in the proposed Food security Act
January 1, 1970

The ongoing floods in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharasthra have pushed millions of rural folks below the poverty line. The tragedy which is far from over has exposed the anomalies in the system of categorization of BPL families as proposed in the concept note of the Food Security Act. More than 200 people have died and over 2.5 million rendered homeless in AP and Karnataka alone. Almost all farmers in the affected areas have lost their standing crops, cattle, assets and even manures and seeds and the full impact of all this is yet to be estimated. According to the concept note of the Food Security Act (as prepared by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution that became available on 4 June, 2009) the validity of the new BPL ration cards would be fixed for 5 years, after which they will automatically expire. Perhaps, the note assumes...

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Great opportunity for media persons to witness Social Audits in Rajasthan
January 1, 1970

Taking a leaf out of the Andhra Pradesh’s book, Rajasthan Government has decided to institutionalize social audits for effective monitoring and implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). A part of the Ashok Gehlot-led Government’s commitment is to set up a full time Directorate of Social Audits to ensure regular execution of social audits and their follow ups. The new programme is likely to be launched on October 2, the Gandhi Jayanti, it is authoritatively learnt by im4change team. Andhra Pradesh is the only state government that has managed to institutionalise social audits in NREGS as a regular process. In the meantime, a team of government officials is leaving for Hyderabad to study the Andhra Model for institutionalized social audits there. In a meeting with citizens groups, it was jointly decided that this process would begin with a District social audit in Bhilwara district of the state where...

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Indian Ocean Nations to test tsunami warning
January 1, 1970

Eighteen countries around the Indian Ocean Rim will participate in a United Nations-backed tsunami exercise on 14 October to coincide with World Disaster Reduction Day, the first time that the warning system set up following the devastating disaster that struck the region in 2004 will be tested, according to UN information brief. The exercise takes place in the wake of the tsunami that killed more than 100 people in Samoa last month, "providing a sober reminder that coastal communities everywhere need to be aware and prepared for such events," stated the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization . Following the 2004 tsunami, UNESCO -- through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) -- helped countries in the region set up the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS). Following are the details of the upcoming drill – Known as "Exercise Indian Ocean Wave 09" -- will test and evaluate the effectiveness...

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Grow more rice with fewer inputs and save the environment for free!
January 1, 1970

The procurement of rice for distribution under the proposed Right to Food scheme has renewed the fears of irreversible depletion of water table in India’s grain producing regions. It is feared that unless more scientific and progressive methods of rice cultivation are used, the otherwise welcome scheme would lead to more sowing of summer paddy leading to more injudicious water use and further soil degradation. Many rural NGOs and agricultural scientists have been reminding the government of promoting the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which offers arguably the best solution in terms of food security and environmental sustainability. SRI technique helps in growing more rice with fewer inputs. The technique is both seed and labour saving. Use of SRI methods reduces the agronomic and economic risks that are usually faced by the farmers. The National Food Security Mission (2007) too has recommended SRI method of farming to increase rice productivity....

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Protest against proposed Cash for Food in Delhi
January 1, 1970

  Several civil society and trade union organizations are getting together in Delhi over the next week to protest against the proposed cash for food scheme of the Delhi Government and to press for a more fair and equitable criterion of identification of BPL families, in the National Capital. BPL families living in slums areas, Jhuggies & unauthorized colonies are expected to participate in big numbers, say the organizers. Led by the Delhi Shrimik Sangathan, the protest is being organized in the form of a mass rally and a public meeting on October 8 from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar. The main demands of the organizations are: a) Abolition of the proposed cash for food scheme; b) A fairer BPL identification criterion; c) Universal PDS; d) Abolition of categorization of ration cards; e) Better transparency in pro-poor schemes and increased participation of people; and f) Strict action against corrupt politicians,...

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