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The pandemic has hampered social auditing of MGNREGA

When a massive sum of public money is spent on a programme like Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGA)--a demand-driven programme, there is likelihood of financial misappropriations and mismanagement. Thankfully there are checks and balances in the rural employment guarantee legislation to counter such malpractices. It is worth noting that the total allocation under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGA) for 2020-21 was Rs. 1,11,500.00 crore (R.E.), up...

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Challenge for Food Corporation of India: Rising stocks, cost, & push to procure -Harish Damodaran

-The Indian Express At the projected economic cost of Rs 29.94/kg for wheat and Rs 42.94/kg for rice, the corresponding per-kg PDS consumer subsidy in the coming fiscal would work out to Rs 27.94 and Rs 39.94, respectively. The Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) “economic cost” of wheat sold through the public distribution system (PDS) is budgeted to go up to Rs 29.94 per kg and that of rice to Rs 42.94...

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Budget 2021 fails to give priority to boosting jobs -Ashwini Deshpande

-The Indian Express The budget should have shown how serious it was about inclusive growth by announcing direct cash support to informal workers, circular migrants, agricultural labour, in addition to steady in-kind food transfers from the overflowing coffers of the FCI by making PDS universal. India’s annual budget, announced amidst much anticipation, focused on health as one of its key pillars. The fact that health and “inclusive growth” found their way into...

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Imbalances in India’s cereal economy need more than a short-term fix -Jean Dreze

-The Indian Express The need of the hour is to expand distribution under the PDS. Failing that, the country is heading towards another round of wasteful stock accumulation even as poor people struggle to feed their families. The paradox of “hunger amidst plenty” has haunted India for a long time and shows no sign of going away. On the contrary, it reached a new plane in 2020. On the one hand, the...

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India’s food supply runs on water misuse -Shijith Kunhitty Three-fourths of India’s population depend on cereals from states that over-exploit groundwater, finds a study. This raises concerns about the country’s food security The farmer protests near Delhi have brought renewed attention to the agricultural practices of northern India, groundwater use in particular. A new study finds that states where groundwater reserves are at critical levels, such as Punjab, form the major source of cereals for around 76% of India’s population....

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