Don’t bring food law without proper BPL survey: Panel
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Expressing apprehensions over differences between the Centre and states over population of Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and discrepancies in the existing BPL lists, a non-partisan committee of Parliament has cautioned the government against rolling out the proposed food guarantee law without resolving all issues related to BPL population in the country.
"The Committee would thus urge the government to thrash out all the issues relating to poverty criteria, estimation, identification and targetting before finalising the Food Security Bill," said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, underlining that it was "concerned about the efficacy of the proposed Food Security Bill when the criteria of identification of the poor remains nebulous".
The Committee headed by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha lamented "divergence in approach" between different government organs and suggested that the proposed BPL survey later this year be undertaken through a joint mechanism comprising of Planning Commission, Ministries of Rural Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, NSSO and Registrar General of India and UIDAI among others.
It recommended that using 'automatic inclusion' principle during the BPL survey be avoided and strongly supporting the principle of 'automatic exclusion' of obvious non-BPL sections of population.
The committee also asked the government to examine the "direct cash-transfer scheme" as tried in Brazil and other similar experiments in countries dealing with large population of poor to come out with a mechanism aimed at "ensuring that every rupee reaches the person it is meant for".
"The Committee would like to emphasise that direct cash transfers to bank accounts of beneficiaries will also facilitate the process of 'financial inclusion' being attempted by the banking sector. Such a scheme may also be integrated with the Aadhar project of the Unique Identification programme to be implemented on a national scale, which will go a long way in plugging the rampant leakages in the dissemination of benefits to the poor," said the Committee.
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