Rich- Poor Gap Widens In Rich Countries, Finds OECD


Developed and developing countries

 

 

 

By Countercurrents.org

 

16 May, 2013
Countercurrents.org

 

The gap between rich and poor widened more in the three years to 2010 than in the previous 12 years, said OECD, the group of industrialized nations.

 

According to an OECD report released on May 15, 2013, the richest 10% of society in the 33 OECD countries received 9.5 times that of the poorest in terms of income, up from nine times in 2007.

 

New OECD data showed:

 

The gap is largest in Chile, Mexico, Turkey, the US and Israel, and lowest in Iceland, Slovenia, Norway and Denmark. [1]

 

OECD found:

 

Poorer households tended to lose more or gain less than richer households between 2007 and 2010. The top 10 percent of the population did better than the poorest 10 percent in 21 of the 33 countries where data were available.

Using pre-crisis income levels as a benchmark, the number of people living in poverty rose during the crisis in most countries.

 

Taxes and benefits helped mitigate the overall increases, but the impact varied. Between 2007 and 2010, average relative income poverty in OECD countries rose from 13 to 14% among children and from 12 to 14% among youth, but fell from 15 to 12% among the elderly. Until 2010, in many countries, pensioners were largely protected while working households took the hit.

Children and the young are among the worst sufferers. The OECD report found:

 

Child poverty has risen in 16 OECD countries since 2007, with increases exceeding 2 points in Turkey, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia and Hungary. This confirms a previously identified trend of young people and children replacing the elderly as the group most at risk of income poverty across the OECD.

The analysis warns that further social spending cuts in OECD countries risk causing greater inequality and poverty in the years ahead.

 

Israel, according to the OECD data, presented a frustrating picture. Citing the report Lior Dattel and Nadan Feldman said [2]:

 

Israel is the most impoverished of the 34 economically developed countries, with a poverty rate of 20.9%.

 

A Paris datelined Reuters report [3] also cited the “growing divide between rich and poor” mentioned in the OECD report.

 

The Reuters report quoted OECD, the Paris-based think-tank,

 

“As the economic and especially the jobs crisis persists and fiscal consolidation takes hold, there is a growing risk that the most vulnerable in society will be hit harder as the cost of the crisis increases.”

 

“These worrying findings underline the need to protect the most vulnerable in society, especially as governments pursue the necessary task of bringing public spending under control,” OECD head Angel Gurria said in a statement.

 

Gurria added that governments should not neglect fairness when they craft their policies, especially when they reform their tax systems.

 

The Reuters report added:

 

With many developed countries facing the pinch of austerity, economic inequality has become a hot topic especially after an ECB study last month found that households in many peripheral eurozone countries are on average wealthier than those in the bloc’s core due to higher levels of home ownership.

 

Long a staunch advocate of free-market reforms shunned by some left-wingers, the OECD has become an increasingly vocal supporter of the welfare state for its capacity to soften the blow of hard economic times.

 

The study said the pain of the crisis was unevenly spread. Poorer households either lost more income from the recession or benefited less from recovery. Children and young people suffered more than the elderly, whose incomes were relatively immune.

 

While reporting the OECD report a BBC-news made the following observation:

The Paris-based group is generally in favor of free-market policies, but has recently become more vocal in support of more generous social provision to soften the impact of the economic downturn of the past few years.

 

Many countries, particularly within the eurozone, have been cutting back hard on welfare spending in an attempt to reduce debt and balance government books as tax revenues fall because of weak growth. In some cases, this is a condition of international support from the likes of the International Monetary Fund.

 

Source:

 

[1] May 15, 2013, “Growing risk of inequality and poverty as crisis hits the poor hardest”
http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/growing-risk-of-inequality-and-poverty-as-crisis-hits-the-poor-hardest-says-oecd.htm

 

[2] Haaretz, “Israel has highest poverty rate in the developed world, OECD report shows”,
May 16, 2013, http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-is-the-poorest-country-in-developed-world-oecd-report-shows.premium-1.524096

 

[3] “Rich nations’ wealth gap widens as welfare cut –OECD”,
http://www.trust.org/item/20130514220100-fspwz

 

 

Oxfam says world’s 100 richest people could end #poverty #mustshare


 
UK-based charity says the world’s 100 richest people earned enough in 2012 to end global poverty four times over.
 

The world’s richest one percent have seen their income increase by 60 percent in the last 20 years [EPA]
The world’s 100 richest people earned enough money last year to end world extreme poverty four times over, according to a new report released by international rights group and charity Oxfam.

The $240 billion net income of the world’s 100 richest billionaires would have ended poverty four times over, according to the London-based group’s report released on Saturday.

The group has called on world leaders to commit to reducing inequality to the levels it was at in 1990, and to curb income extremes on both sides of the spectrum.

The release of the report was timed to coincide with the holding of the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.

The group says that the world’s richest one percent have seen their income increase by 60 percent in the last 20 years, with the latest world financial crisis only serving to hasten, rather than hinder, the process.

“We sometimes talk about the ‘have-nots’ and the ‘haves’ – well, we’re talking about the ‘have-lots’. [...] We’re anti-poverty agency. We focus on poverty, we work with the poorest people around the world. You don’t normally hear us talking about wealth. But it’s gotten so out of control between rich and poor that one of the obstacles to solving extreme poverty is now extreme wealth,” Ben Phillips, a campaign director at Oxfam, told Al Jazeera.

‘Global new deal’

“We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true,” said Jeremy Hobbs, an executive director at Oxfam.

“Concentration of resources in the hands of the top one per cent depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else – particularly those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

“In a world where even basic resources such as land and water are increasingly scarce, we cannot afford to concentrate assets in the hands of a few and leave the many to struggle over what’s left.”

Hobbs said that “a global new deal” is required, encompassing a wide array of issues, from tax havens to employment laws, in order to address income inequality.

Closing tax havens, the group said, could yield an additional $189bn in additional tax revenues. According to Oxfam’s figures, as much as $32 trillion is currently stored in tax havens.

In a statement, Oxfam warned that “extreme wealth and income is not only unethical it is also economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive.”

 

#India- Urban poor to be identified on vulnerabilities


By , TNN | Jan 14, 2013, 04.36 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The urban poor will now be identified on the basis of social, economic and occupational vulnerabilities as the housing and poverty alleviation ministry has decided to junk the Planning Commission‘s income benchmark.

As of now, families earning below Rs 4,824 a month are put in the bracket of urban poor.

The move comes as the ministry is finding it difficult to identify beneficiaries in metropolises and other cities, where few families earn below the BPL cutoff while many of them live in vulnerable conditions.

It has also been noticed that income certificates are forged or are being procured after bribing officials.

As the socio-economic census is going on across the country, the ministry is working on a mechanism according to which urban poor will be defined according to people’s vulnerabilities. Under the mechanism, families will be divided into two groups — those automatically included the other automatically excluded — in the poverty bracket.

Those automatically included in the poverty bracket will be the homeless and jobless. Automatically excluded will be families with a pakka house, motor vehicle or electronic appliances such as air-conditioner or refrigerator.

Those included will be graded by the ministry on the basis of economic, social, occupational and housing vulnerabilities. Based on data from the caste census, families will be graded and assigned points according to their needs.

“The formula will help in identifying poor in terms of vulnerabilities and government schemes will target the vulnerable group. It will result in better targeting,” housing and urban poverty alleviation minister Ajay Makentold TOI, adding that the identification of urban poor will be based on the recommendations of the Hashim committee.

“Those living in slums will automatically be eligible for benefits under the slum-rehabilitation scheme,” the minister said.

The new mechanism is also aimed at ensuring distribution of benefits of government schemes to city-specific “vulnerable” basket as per the specific needs in a particular city.

If a family scores very high on the housing vulnerability index, it would be given priority under slum upgradation schemes and Rajiv Awas Yojana, an official said.

Once the census is complete, the city-specific urban poor basket will be ready. “We will take it up with other ministries also to adopt the new criteria,” Maken said.

 

__._,_.___

 

Guinea pigs for technology #UID #Aaadhaar


Cash transfer would be a test for Aadhaar but the poor would pay the price
Cover photo
Sreelatha Menon / New Delhi Dec 16, 2012,, business standdar
 
Technology can be good. But should it be first tested on the poor, who can barely read and write? Then, leave them at the mercy of unkind banks and other agencies?
There are basically two requirements to be eligible for the cash transfer scheme. One, you should have a bank account. Two, you should have an Aadhaar number. Both are scarce and the government is in a tearing hurry.
These factors make a recipe for disaster. The only consolation for the government that hopes to ride on cash transfer in the next election is that benefits of many schemes, which will come under cash transfer, will never reach the poor. So, most people would not find out what they are missing.
For instance, half of the ration card holders never got anything. May be half of those who needed ration cards never even got the cards. Migrants in urban areas are excluded from benefits because their ration cards, issued by their states, don’t work in other states. Getting a new ration card is out of question, considering their inability to produce a local address proof.
Now, they are required to produce a new document — an Aadhaar card. In Thrissur district in Kerala, some people had to return from an Aadhaar enrolment camp because they were too old and their biometric mapping could not be captured on machines.
When technology fails, it is not the technology that gets rejected. It is the people who are rejected. So, these people – mostly old – with no income, and dependent on their children, would now be deprived of rice and gas subsidies.
As these cases multiply, they add up to even more poverty, malnutrition and hunger, and above all, anger — a fact that the ruling Congress must bear in mind.
Aadhaar and the cash transfer scheme, therefore, despite their possibilities would now act as measures to exclude a large number of people from whatever subsidies are available now, as in the case of cylinders and kerosene.
If this experiment was being conducted in a society ensured of some kind of social security such as pension – good enough to support the people in their old age – then this may not have hurt the poor. The best thing in these circumstances is to give people an option to choose between cash and kind.
This will ensure that no one will get excluded – not even Nandan Nilekeni and his project Unique Identification – or those who are staunch believers in cash transfer.
The only ray of hope is that the Centre cannot force state governments in implement the scheme. As Food Minister K V Thomas said states were free to give cash in place of food and other benefits, or just transfer the subsidy component in cash-to-bank accounts.
That would at least prevent jeopardising the existing system in many states, where genuine efforts have been made to make it work. Thomas offered another possibility that could make cash transfer less painful. He said instead of insisting on an Aadhaar card, documents like national population register card or ration card could be considered.
The pilot cash transfer project in Kotkasim in Rajasthan is a warning. The delays in cash transfer by nearly a year and the exclusion of over 5,000 ration card holders, who did not have accounts, expose callousness. Even a single case of a penurious old labour in Kotkasim having to go to a bank seven to 17 km away to inquire about the subsidy transfer to his bank, and the loss of his wages, are enough to condemn the scheme.

 

Aadhaar-obsessed Indian Government should check ground reality #UID


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

NOVEMBER 30, 2012, http://www.taxindiaonline.com/
By TIOL Edit Team
THE Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has put the Government in fast gear on the grandiose project for direct cash transfers (DCT) to beneficiaries of various subsidy-centric and other welfare schemes.
He exuded over-confidence the other day while addressing the first meeting of the National Committee on Direct Cash Transfers (NCDCT).
Dr. Singh stated: “Direct Cash Transfers, which are now becoming possible through the innovative use of technology and the spread of modern banking across the country, open the doors for eliminating waste, cutting down leakages and targeting beneficiaries better. We have a chance to ensure that every Rupee spent by the government is spent truly well and goes to those who truly deserve it.”
He should moderate over-confidence with ground realities, provide answers on ticklish and contentious implementation issues.
He should also direct the Government to simultaneously pursue other options to reduce subsidy leakages and thus make DCT a triple medicine o ensure that benefits reach targeted segments of population, reign in corruption in delivery system and reduce expenditure and fiscal deficit.
Take the case of fertilizer subsidy. A cost-benefit study of Aadhar project undertaken by National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) at the behest of Planning Commission has projected a modest saving of 7% in fertilizer subsidy scheme through DCT.
Savings many times more than estimated 7% can be achieved simply by re-engineering fertilizer subsidy mechanism by weeding out fiscal bias for certain nutrients such as nitrogen and products such as ordinary prilled urea. It would not cost Government anything to bring urea under nutrient-based subsidy scheme!
The Government can easily save a few thousand crore rupees by ordering mandatory production and use of coated urea and urea super-granules and by promoting use of nitrates-based nitrogenous fertilizers that cause lesser losses of nitrogen through air, runs-offs and seepages in the crop field.
A truly nutrient-based and product-neutral subsidy scheme, coupled with mass popularization of drip irrigation should not only cut subsidy bill by half but also ensure efficient use of irrigation water. This is the key to food security and sustainable agriculture.
UPA Government should not neglect such options and create an impression that aadhar is the magic wand for inclusive growth and expenditure reforms. It must decide whether it would cash subsidy to land owners or to the share-cropper (the actual farmer) or to both.
The Government should also disclose whether and how often it would revise cash subsidy taking into account the increase in global prices of fertilizer and raw materials and rapid depreciation of rupee.
Such concerns are equally relevant to kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) that are primarily derived from imported crude. Would aadhar card-enabled DCT provide for automatic increase or decrease in fuel subsidies to reflect global price and forex changes?
And the acid test for the Government would be food subsidy. Would the Government automatically increase DCT/per person to reflect the regular increase in food procurement prices and the resulting rise in open market prices?
Would Aadhar mechanism have built-in mechanism to capture the inflation-caused swings in the number of potential beneficiaries especially who live on the threshold of dubious poverty line?
Yet another issue that can’t be pushed under the carpet is the urgent need to make the definition of poverty realistic and provide for inflation-indexing of poverty line.
As for implementation issues, a country bedeviled with power shortages and frequent breakdown of servers and telecom link can make aadhar-enabled electronic banking a pain in the neck for poorest of the poor.
When banking terminals at times fail in public sector banks in Delhi for hours, what is the guarantee that they would function in villages where power is supplied only for 6-8 hours as per the rural electrification norms.
There also many other challenges on the DCT road. The Government must list all concerns and disclose how it would resolve them. Credible and wholesome communication on Aadhar should replace government hand-outs to the media.
NIPFP study should have factored in all concerns and challenges before coming out with goody-goody projections.
The study claims: “We find that substantial benefits would accrue to the government by integrating Aadhaar with schemes such as PDS, MNREGS, fertiliser and LPG subsidies, as well as housing, education and health programmes. The benefits arise from the reduction in leakages that occur due to identification and authentication issues. Our analysis takes into account the costs of developing and maintaining Aadhaar, and of integrating Aadhaar with the schemes over the next ten years. Even after taking all costs into account, and making mod- est assumptions about leakages, of about 7-12 percent of the value of the transfer/subsidy, we find that the Aadhaar project would yield an internal rate of return in real terms of 52.85 percent to the government.”
The Government should commission a fresh study that should factor in all hidden and unrecognized costs of Aadhar-enabled DCT.

 

Confusion over #Aadhaar and #NPR #UID #Biometrics


  , ET
Thursday October 25, 2012, 03:46 PM

We just went and got our biometry done for NPR (National Population Register).  Census enumerators had visited us earlier and before the appointed NPR dates, we got an enrolment form we were supposed to fill up.  NPR biometry was being done at a neighbourhood government school and we were expected to turn up with assorted ID-s and our Aadhaar cards.  When we presented our Aadhaar cards, no other ID was needed.  Biometry wasn’t necessary either, since that was picked up from Aadhaar cards.  In other words, the Aadhaar database was sufficient to establish identity and biometry.  There will subsequently be a NPR card too.

 

When I read assorted stuff about subsidies and benefits being Aadhaar-based, I am confused.  First, there is an issue of BPL identification and there are problems of both inclusion and exclusion with it.  In other words, people who should be excluded are included.  And people who should be included are excluded.  Identifying BPL and deciding who should be beneficiaries of subsidies is a political decision, not just economic.  Of course, cash transfers are more efficient.  However, in many subsidy schemes, what is described as leakage is sometimes subsidies to poor who haven’t been included in BPL enumeration.  If all poor actually get subsidies, from a budgetary point of view, the subsidy bill may actually increase.

 

Let’s leave that aside.  Second, what exactly is Aadhaar and what does it mean to say stuff will be Aadhaar-based?  I can appreciate utility of the Aadhaar database and it does eliminate multiplicity and “bogus” individuals.  Hence, procedural costs of assorted government documentation declines. However, Aadhaar hasn’t just been the database, it’s also the card.  What use is the card, apart from the fact that once you have the card, the biometry can be scanned from it?  And what will be the point of the Aadhaar card, once there is a NPR card?  After all, NPR is for Indians, while Aadhaar is for residents of India.  That’s what I presume.  Any entitlements, so to speak, will be based on NPR cards.

 

Aadhaar only got a head-start and provided the database.  In practice, so far as I personally am concerned, no one has accepted Aadhaar cards as identity.  Perhaps that will change, beginning with bank accounts.  However, I repeat, that’s really the database, not physical cards.  I can understand expenditure on databases.  But was expenditure on physical cards really necessary?  With NPR, won’t this be rendered superfluous?

 

Apart from purely symbolic value, what’s the point of a big song and dance, including photographs, of dignitaries distributing Aadhaar cards to poor people?  Our experience with the NPR “camp” was also different from our experience with the earlier Aadhaar “camp” in our locality, though admittedly, this is a small sample.

 

Broadly, there were two groups of people who turned up for the Aadhaar “camp”, probably reflective of the neighbourhood.  There was a category of relatively richer and more educated people and there was a category of relatively poor people, mostly those who render some variety of domestic service and live in “unauthorized” locations nearby.  At the NPR “camp”, the second category was completely absent.  Perhaps they weren’t enumerated in the Census and perhaps they didn’t obtain enrollment forms.  Though possible, this seems unlikely.  More likely, because of advertisements, hype, publicity and resultant awareness, they saw some benefit from Aadhaar, but not from NPR.  If my understanding is correct, it should actually be the other way round.  As a government, the conclusion is inescapable.  Because of tussles across ministries/departments and confusion over what was intended, we have made a hash out of it and squandered some amount of money in the process.

 

We needed the Aadhaar database and we needed the NPR card.  It seems to me there was greater clarity before 2004 about who we needed to map.  Subsidies will be for Indians.  Why did we bother about foreigners who were resident in India?  Unless we assumed that these “foreigners” would eventually become Indians?

 

#India- Rakku’s Story: Structures of Ill-Health and the Source of Change #Freedownload


Cover of Rakku's Story

This book turns the usual approach to health analysis on its head. It begins by looking at continuing ill-health in India through the life of a labouring village woman, exploring the forces which keep her from adequately feeding and caring for her children and herself. It probes the source of ill-health, not by focusing on missing nutrients, drugs or skills, but by looking at the way disease and malnutrition are distributed in society – an approach which necessarily sheds light on the distribution of food and all resources, and thus also, the distribution of power. Inequalities within the existing healthcare system thus become a window on the structures and forces operating throughout society.

This study takes ill-health out of the medical realm into the arena of poverty and powerlessness. It analyses that poverty within a social and political context, not as an immutable or inevitable situation but rather as the result of specific and historical forces in process in the country. It argues that the existing socio-economic order which perpetuates underdevelopment, contains within it an inherent ill-health “logic” as well. Such a perspective demands a re-assessment of the relevance of current “primary health care” activities in the country.

The purpose of the book is to shift the attention and efforts of health workers to the poverty – dependency – ill-health dynamic, and to suggest how issues of ill-health can be used to strengthen the broader struggle by the labouring poor for health and social justice.

The file is 96.7 MB so it might take some time to download on slower connection.

FREE DOWNLOAD FULL BOOK

Homeless in Silicon City, India


As the city prepares to welcome the monsoon, its poor are left to battle it out in the streets. In 2010, the Supreme Court ordered state governments to set up shelters for the homeless people. The October 2011 deadline has long expired and the work is yet to show good progress in many states. Karnataka, as usual, is a laggard state and Bangalore, lags many other cities such as Belgaum, in helping the lot of its poor. The city may need 80+ shelters, but only seven have been built so far. The majority of the homeless poor do not seem to be aware of them.

The man in this video earns Rs. 70 per day, almost twice Montek’s gratis to BPL people.
These are the aam aadmi for whom the Congress is shedding crocodile tears and setting up the UID database at a cost of Rs. 20,000/ Crores (as per the Union budget) to prevent “leakages” of LPG and BPL rations.
 

Fact-finding Report on Implementation of Food Security Programme in Kalahandi district, Odisha


Organised  by : Right to Food Campaign, Odisha
Dates of Visit:   17th  and 18th May’2012
Team Members:
Mr. Pradipta Nayak, State Coordinator, IHRE and Member, State-Level Monitoring Committee on MDM, Dept. of S & M E, Govt of Odisha,9437053329
Mr. Dillip Das, Food Rights Activist, Antodaya, Kalahandi, 9437070038
Mr. Tapan Padhi, Secretary, childright and Rights of Child Activist,9437635267
Mr. Pradip Pradhan, State Convener, Right to Food Campaign, Odisha, 9937843482

Introduction
Thuamul Rampur Block of Kalahandi district of Western Odisha is a tribal-dominated block coming under Fifth schedule of Indian Constitution.   This tribal dominated Block   consisting of 16 Gram Panchayats, 256 Villages with 65767 populations (as per 2001 census) stands infamous for poverty, illiteracy, extreme hunger and malnutrition. Almost all anti-poverty schemes, Food Security programme and Special Projects are undertaken for socio-economic development of the tribal people and to reduce poverty and hunger in this region. Recently, State Govt. has declared this Block as Maoist-affected Block for which “Integrated Action Plan”, a new project   of Central Govt. for Maoist-affected areas is undertaken for infrastructure development. However, this Block is still inaccessible surrounded with Hills and deep forests. As per the reports of Planning & Coordination department of Government of Odisha Thuamul Rampur block is the third most under developed block of the state among all 314 blocks considering all development indicators and due to the apathy of the government functionaries the benefits of different development schemes seldom reach to the poor inhabitants of the block. Basic amenities like health, drinking water and education facilities remain as dreams of the villagers in inaccessible pockets.
While  getting news from Media and other sources about a lot of discrepancy, corruption and irregularities in  food security programme  and implementation of Right to Education Act in this Block,  a  Four- Member Team  of Right to Food Campaign, Odisha Mr. Pradipta Nayak, Pradip Pradhan, Tapan Padhi and Dillip Das  had made  a two-day  visit  to some interior  and inaccessible  villages  of the Block  on 17th and 18th May 2012 with the objective  to understand the whole  food security situation  of  the tribals  in context  of  implementation of  food security programme i.e, Mid-Day-Meal  and Integrated Child Development Scheme and Right to Education Act. During two-day  visit, the team  moved  through hilly tracks of the Block to reach villages like Bhejiguda, Permanji, Podapadar, Karlapat, Dalguma, Purunagumma, Simelpadar, Sapmundi  and  Melingpadar  village of Sagada GP under Bhawanipatna Block to understand the  implementation of MDM and ICDS schemes and accessibility of tribals  to these schemes, situation of primary schools and Primary Education in the Thuamul Rampur Block. The details of the visits, experience of the Team Members and Findings is as follows.
Implementation of RTE Act.
Right to Education Act is being implemented since 2009 with the mandate to ensure free and compulsory education to the children within the age group of 6 to 14. As per Act and State Rules,  the State Govt. is duty-bound to ensure required no. of teachers ( one teacher per 30 students) in each school , infrastructure like  required  class room, school building, drinking water, boundary wall, cooking shed etc. Though implementation of the Act is about more than 3 years, a large number of schools are still deprived of basic infrastructures and required teachers. On the other hand teachers’ absenteeism  has posed  big threat  to the   primary school system in this area.
a.In Leling Padar  village which comes under Bhawanipatna Block,  the Primary school building has got destroyed.  The construction of new school building is going on since last two years. The Team members found extreme low quality of work done in the building. As per Govt. instruction, School Management Committee is authorized agency to carry out the construction of school building. But Muna Majhi, President, Village Education Committee ( SMC has not been formed till yet) said that the  school teacher Sri Apsar Khan who  is habituated to remain absence    in the school for last 10 years, has come forward to take up the work ignoring  the committee members  and the villagers.  The Teacher has become the  contractor  in the village.  He uses  to come to the school to supervise the on-going  construction work not to teach the children. It was found that President and Members  of VEC are least concerned about it.  As reported by Sadhu Majhi, Ward Member, SMC has not been formed since 2009 after enactment of RTE Act.
When the  villagers demanded for  formation of new committee, the teacher  told them  that president  would not be changed, unless construction of  school building is  completed. The reason behind it  is that  the  President of Village Education Committee is drunkard  and  it is easy for the teacher  to take signature  of President  for withdrawal of money from Bank as the  president is one of the joint signatories  in the Bank. As per norm,  the money sanctioned  for  construction of building  will be placed in the Bank account opened by  jointly by President, School committee and teacher. As reported by the villagers, the  District administration has sanctioned Rs. 9,17,000 and Rs. 50,000 for construction of school building and cooking shed respectively.
b. Primary Schools like Bhejiguda, Podapadar, Sapmundi  are devoid of  latrines, boundary wall and drinking water. Though  Tube-well  has been set up  in both  the schools,  it is defunct for years together.  Despite several  complaints by the villagers for repair of tube-well, the authority  has not taken any step in this regard, alleged by the President of SMCs. Finding no drinking water, the  cook  is using water from nearby Nallah  for preparation of MDM and the children using it as drinking water.
c. In all the villages, the School Committee meeting never sits.  It was found that  the members are still unaware  about their rights  and  responsibilities  as member of SMC. Neither the teachers have discussed with them about their responsibility nor has the district administration conducted any training for them. The teachers are found   deliberately avoiding   the meeting.
d. In all schools, the villagers  made  complaints about long absence of teachers  in the school. Pada Nayak of  Bhejiguda village said that the three teachers  Nipindra Bag, Ajit Katha, Chandrasen Singh never come to the school regularly. However they come on rotation just to open the school and serve MDM food.     Similarly   Bhataguda Project UP School, two school teacher Ghanash Majhi and Santanu Majhi hardly come to the school and many times they come in rotation. The student strength  in the school is 60 with  class – I to  7. Same situation is in Podapadar, the school has three teachers with 60 students. The teachers come on rotation.   Wherever the teachers come,  they  do not pay much attention to impart education to the children. They come at 11 0’clock and leave the school after MDM is served.
e. The school environment is in bad shape.  The Class room and outside area is very dirty  which gives  glimpses of closure of  school for months together. The school teachers is seen very careless in maintaining  the school properly.
f. In Karlapata upgraded School which has  upto 10th class with  student strength of 175   has no kitchen room with shortage of class room and  defunct latrine. The teachers are coming on rotation.
g. In many schools visited like Melingpadar, Podapadar, the villagers complained that the school children had not been provided   school dress and shoes till yet.
Management of Mid-Day-Meal
MDM programme is one of the most important food security programme implemented for the children throughout the country. It aims to provide protein and nutritious food to the school-going children up to 8th class and ensure presence of all the children in the school. Hearing WPC No. 196/2001 filed  by PUCL, the Supreme Court  has passed   a number of   interim orders  to  provide  cooked hot  food  to all the school-going children  during school hours  and also  in  summer  vacation period   in the drought-prone  areas.  Since April,2011, the State Govt. has issued new guideline  for effective management of MDM in all the school with  details of type of food served in every day and allocation of quantity of food per children. During  visit to Thuamul Rampur  Block of Kalahandi district, the Team Members  monitored food served under MDM to the School children and  availability  of infrastructure like cooking shed  for the same.
a.It was  found  that number of  Primary Schools or Project Upper Primary Schools of Karlapat, Melingpadar, Bhejiguda  etc.  of this Block  is devoid of  cooking shed. In Bhejiguda Primary School,  food is prepared  in latrine room and in some times  under open sky. In Lelingpadar, cooking shed is under construction for last two years.  The Members of SMC are not aware about amount of money sanctioned for the same.
b. The Members of the School Management  Committees of  all schools  are  in dark about  allocation of quantity of rice  and  fund  for MDM. When they were asked about status of MDM and amount sanctioned for MDM, they expressed their ignorance about the same.  MDM is virtually managed by the School teachers not by members of SMC. The teachers simply took their signature  for withdrawal of money from the account. It needs to be mentioned here that  as per new circular issued by State Govt., an account  should be opened  jointly  by Head Teacher and president of SMC for management of fund allotted for MDM.  The SMC members and the villagers in  all  villages complained that the teachers  misappropriate  money and rice sanctioned for MDM. It was also found that  the teachers  purchase dal, egg and other items  for MDM   without involving  the SMC Members.
c. In every school, egg is served  once in a week  which  contradicts the instruction of Govt.  to provide   egg for twice in a week i.e.,  Wednesday  and Saturday .
d. The Children complained that they were not provided stomach full food and food not served regularly.  In Lelingpadar, school children have not been served food for several months. Teachers absenteeism also makes   irregular distribution of MDM for the children in all schools.
e. The venue used for preparation of food and food served is not hygienic. Cooking utensil are in bad shape.
f. Many schools like Bhejiguda, Podapadar, the team came across the tube-well but  defunct.  Water  from nearby Nullah( small water stream)  is used  for preparation of food  and drinking water. Many schools do not have drinking water facility.  The villagers  also shared that  they had complained  to BDO, Collector for  repair of tube-well several times, but in vain.
g. It was  found that Women SHGs  had not been engaged  anywhere  for management of MDM in any school .   In the name of SMC,  the teachers  have monopolized  management of MDM.
h. Cook appointed to prepare food   has not been  paid honorarium  for months  together  in Lelingpadar, Podapadar villages.
Management of ICDS programme.
Integrated  Child Development Scheme, best known as Anganwadi programme  is one of the biggest programme  for women and children  in the country. It mandates to provide protein and nutritious food to the children of 6 months to 6 years, pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girl and check malnutrition, infant mortality and maternal mortality in the country.
This scheme also provides a package of services including supplementary nutrition, pre-school education, immunization, health check-up, referral services and nutrition & health education through Anganwadi centres. Since April2011, the State Govt. has issued  new guideline  in form of decentralizing  the distribution of  food items  to the beneficiaries engaging women SHGs  for effective implementation of ICDS programme in the state. Under the presentation arrangement, the  children of 6 months to 3 years , severely malnourished children, lactating and pregnant women are  entitled to get  Take Hole Ration (THR)  from Anganwadi Centre  and the Children within the age group of 3 to 6 years  will be served  breakfast and lunch  in AWC in every month  except Sunday . The Details of THR to be served different category  of the beneficiaries  as follows.
Category of beneficiaries
Nutrition
Amount per head (Rs.)
Quantity of THR per day (gram)
Quantity of THR per 15 days
6 months to 3 years
13.34
4
160
2 K.G.
Lactating and pregnant women
17.79
5
200
2.5K.G.
Severely malnourished
20
6
240
3 K.G.
Severely malnourished
( 3 to 6 years)
6.67
2
80
2 K.G. per month
The State Govt. has issued circular to all District Collectors to engage women groups for preparation of Chhatua (THR). In KBK region, older persons are entitled to get   meal once in a day  throughout the month in Anganwadi centre.
While visiting Thuamul Rampur Block,  the Team Members  examined   about  the procedure  followed  for distribution of Chhatua  to the beneficiaries, management of AWC, food served to the children in AWC, quality and quantity of Chhatua served etc.
a.The Team  came across gross irregularities  in distribution of Chhatua Packets  to  children, pregnant and lactating women  in  all the  villages. Women of Podapadar  village showing loose packet complained that Anganwadi Worker of Dalguma Anganwadi Centre  sells Chhatua   at the rate Rs.10/-. Per half kg. The Anganwadi Worker  gives one packet of Chhatua in two to three months.
b. Women of Bhataguda village said that  Sarojini Nayak, Anganwadi Worker who stays 2 km away from the centre  and hardly visits  the centre collects   Rs. 5 /- per Packet of Chhatua. In fact  as per  guideline Chhatua  will be served to the beneficiaries  free of cost at their doorstep.
c.  The Team Members  found   mega scam  in management  and distribution of Chhatua when  they  visited  Purunagumma village  and interacted  with Bishnu Priya Singh, Anganwadi Worker. Sabitri SHG of this village has been given responsibility to prepare Chhatua and distribute same to various Anganwadi centres in the Block.  When the President and Secretary of Sabitri group were asked about their business and collection of different items, money received from Govt., they could not speak anything.  Even they could not show their Bank Passbook. In fact, Anganwadi worker  herself  is  the de facto president  and Secretary  of Sabitri SHG  and  managing  the whole Chhatua business in the name of the group and engaging  members of SHG as  worker in packeting Chhatua. Anganawadi worker keeps Pass Book of SHG and manages their fund keeping the members in dark about money received and spent in Chhatua business.  The whole objective of empowering women   by engaging  themselves  in  Chhatua  business  has been defeated. Women groups are seen stooge in the hand  of Anganwadi worker in the Block.
This is not  a single case.  Similar kind of case  was also found  in Simelpadar  village  where the Secretary  and members of Om Sibaya SHG  who has been given  license  for preparation of Chhatua  by the administration  are  working as daily wage worker in Chhatua godown managed by Anganwadi worker Manjulal Mohapatra. Sabni Majhi, Secretary of the group said that  they are working as wage labourer  in  Chhatua factory run  by Anganwadi worker and getting Rs. 40/- per day. Anganwadi Worker runs  Chhatua  business in the name of  Om Sibaya Women SHG. Records of account, distribution of Chhatua, receipt of fund and expenditure is kept with Anganwadi worker. The information about any loss or profit, details of fund released by the administration to SHG  is  not known to  Secretary of the SHG.
d. Angawadi cnetre  of Purunagumma  village  is used  for packeting and storage of Chhatua. It has become business hub. Pre-school education which should be imparted to the children in the centre as per ICDS guideline, does not happen here. The space is used by AWW for Chhatua business.  Pre-school education is not imparted in any Angawadi centre of the Block. Anganwadi Workers are found   concerned to serve food to the children and health check up.
e.  Major scam was found  in the weight  of Chhatua  distributed  to beneficiaries. As per ICDS guideline, each child is entitled to  get  two packet of 4 kg Chhtua ( 2 kg  per  packet) per month. Similarly, lactating and pregnant women are entitled to get 2 packet of 5 kg Chhatua. But  practically, women and children are not served that quantity. The quantity of Chhatua served  to the beneficiaries  by Sabitri SHG is as follows.
Quantity of Chhatua per each packet for lactating and pregnant  women  as per ICDS guideline
Written information on packet  distributed  by SHG
Actual weight  done by the team on spot
2.5 kg
2.125  kg
2 kg
Quantity of Chhatua per packet for  malnourished children   as per ICDS guideline
Written information on packet  distributed  by SHG
Actual weight done by the Team on the spot
3 kg
2.550 kg
2.400 kg
Quantity of Chhatua per packet for  children of 6 to 3 years    as per ICDS guideline
Written information on packet  distributed  by SHG
Actual weight done by the Team on the spot
2 kg
1.750 kg
1.5 kg
Quantity of Chhatua per each packet for  Adult girls  of 6 to 3 years    as per ICDS guideline
Written information on packet  distributed  by SHG
Actual weight done by the Team on the spot
2.5 kg
2.125 kg
1.750 kg
N.B.- In ICDS guideline, there is no such provision  of Chhatua packet for adult girls. But   the Team found such provision of Chhatua  for the said group  in this Block. When enquired, Anganwadi worker of Simelpadar said that CDPO has authorized  Om Sibaya women SHG to prepare Chhatua  for adultt girls which needs  to be examined further.
f. when enquired about less quantity of Chhatua  in the packet which is also written clearly  in the paper inserted  in the packet which is  violation of guideline, the Anganwadi worker of Simelpadar and Purunagumma village  on behalf of SHG said that they had  received a letter from CDPO  to make packet of less quantity ( 1.750 kg in stead of 2 kg Chhatua) after deducting waste, wastage and wire and tear.
g. As per  ICDS guideline  issued by Govt. of Odisha,   Chhatua  Packet for each section of Beneficiary  will bear particular colour. For example, Chhatua packet meant for malnourished children will bear  red colour and Packet  for pregnant and lactating women  sky yellow color.  Packet meant for children sky blue color. But it was  found that  all packet are plain with no colour served by Dalguma Anganwadi worker.
g. It was also found that packets are not sealed  but stapled. Information about details of item mixed  for preparing Chhatua, Name of SHG with address and date of manufacturing is written in English not in Odia.
h. It was also reported by Secretary, Om Sibaya SHG  and ANW of Simelpadar  that they are procuring wheat from CDPO, Thuamulrampur  at the cost of Rs.4.91 per kg for preparation of Chhatua. It is written  in the  ICDS guideline that  Govt. will supply rice  free of cost  to SHGs  for preparation of Chhatua.
After  field visit, the Team  tried  to meet  Collector, ADM and DPC, Kalahandi to appraise  them about the situation.  Despite hard effort, the Collector  could not be contacted, though his mobile  continuesly rang. ADM’s mobile is found switched off and he could not be contacted. DPC was contacted. He gave time 4 o’clock  for meeting on 18th May. During that time,  the team  found his absence in the office. When he was contacted over mobile, he switched off in order to avoid to meet the Team. At last the Team members met ABDO, Bhawanipatna Block and S. I . of schools and appraised them about above mentioned school problems and sought his quick intervention.
Recommendation
a.Sri Apsar Khan, teacher of Lelingpadar  Primary School should be transferred  without delay. He has already spent one decade  in that school  making  thousands of children illiterate  remaining absent for long period  in that school.  He is the person who is responsible for destroying generation to generation making our children academically crippled. Salary paid  to him should be recovered. Enquiry into alleged misappropriation of fund and low quality of work done in construction of  school building should be  done as quick as possible  and criminal proceedings should be initiated against him.
b. As per provision of Right to Education Act and Odisha RTE Rules, School infrastructure  like  building , required  classroom, boundary wall, drinking water, cooking shed, latrine  should be ensured  to all the Primary schools at the earliest.
c. Teachers’ absenteeism in the schools for  months together has posed big threat to improvement of Primary education in rural areas. Illiteracy can not be checked unless teachers’ presence in the school is ensured.  The teachers remaining absent in the school and neglecting in imparting teaching to the children should be penalized and disciplinary action can be initiated against them. There should be system of performance appraisal of the teachers through children’s performance in the school examination.
d. The State Govt. should organize training programme for SMC members to sensitize them about their roles and responsibilities in the management school and MDM. Due to ignorance of the SMC members, the teachers are found mismanaging and misappropriating funds for the schools and MDM which needs to be checked through empowerment of SMC.
e. It is found that the school teachers are having nexus with BRC, CRC, S.I. of schools, who are in charge of monitoring of the schools. To check it, there should be independent monitoring team of Civil Society Organisations, advocates, retired Govt. officials, eminent citizens, retired Professors at the district. This independent team of Govt. machinery should monitor the schools and report to the authority for quick action.
f. Defunct Tube-well in all schools should be repaired on war-footing way and all schools should have provision of drinking water  at the earliest.
g. Management of MDM should be handed over to the SMC, not to the teachers. The teachers should be warned not to keep money and rice of MDM scheme with them. Whenever possible, women SHGs should be handed over management of MDM.
h. In view of proxy business undertaken by Anganwadi workers in the name of women SHG, the objective of the Govt. to engage women in preparation of Chhatua has been defeated.  Food business has  again gone to  same  vested groups  who had been misappropriating and black-marketing of  ICDS food  since years together. So the Govt. should take steps to organize capacity building training programme for Women SHGs. So that they will be able  to manage their business independently  and gain profit and contribute  to their family income.
i.Less quantity in Chhatua Packet  needs  inquiry and action should be taken against the persons responsible for it. The beneficiaries should be provided prescribed quantity of Chhatua as per ICDS guideline. If such discrepancy continues, it will no doubt bring disaster in  food security of women and children leading to rise of  malnutrition and infant mortality rate in the tribal pockets.
j. Information about packaging and name of the organization and its address should be written in Odia so that the rural people can understand it and react in case of any discrepancy. Providing and disseminating  information in English in Chhatua Packet  for the poor and illiterate masses is no doubt a colonial conspiracy  to  befool  and cheat  the people.
k. Anganwadi workers of Simelpadar and Purunagumma should be warned to refrain from proxy business. They  should   work  to  develop capacity of  SHGs so that they can manage Chhatua business independently.  They should not run the business making SHG women as their daily wage labourer in their business hub.
l. It is alleged that CDPO of Thuamul Rampur is  selling wheat to the groups who are in charge of  producing supplementary nutrition powder. An enquiry should be ordered to find out fact and action should be taken accordingly.

Remove Monty from Planning Commission #poverty #India


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Please join us on  faceboook …..

Because  Montek Singh ahulwalia  excels at being anti-poor.

Because he is creating an India that is awesomely elitist.

Crony-Capitalist. Policy by Policy. Brick by Brick.

Our Suggestion to Montek Singh Ahluwalia: Quit the planning commission and do a PhD. It will allow you to call yourself Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Possible Thesis Topic: The Horrible Impact of Horribly Elitist Policies by Horribly Elitist Policymakers in India: 2004-2012.

In September 2009, Montek claimed that inflation will decline by the end of the year. In November 2009, Inflation was at 11.5%. In December 2009, it was 13.5%. In the first month of the new year, it was 14.97%. And in February 2010, it reached 16.22%.

 Someone seems to care more about Monsanto than about farmers. Of course, that someone has name that sounds quite similar to Monsanto.

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