So I have been reading a lot to improve my ‘GK’. 😛 I have been reading several old Outlook magazines that I had subscribed but hadn’t had time to read. Thought I will do a roundup of articles that made an impact on me. Some of the news is a year old.
Grains rotting away, subsidies not reaching poor
I will start with my pet peeve. In a vast country like ours where millions starve, tonnes of food grains rot in rat-infested government godowns. On top of that, disbursed amounts of food grains do not reach poor.
According to planning Commission’s 11th (2007-12) report, only 6.1 million of 14.1 million tonnes, allocated to BPL (below poverty line) people, reached the target people in 2003-04. In 2005, only 42% of the subsidised grains issued reached people!
Reason: massive pilferage and diversion of grains. Bihar and Punjab top the list. When people go to fair price shop, they so not find their rations. This occurs in connivance with local politicians. On top of it, 40% of BPL cardholders are bogus. You now that report about rampant corruption in India by Transparency International stands correct (though there was never any doubt in my mind.) Once this situation had gone so bad, people started beating up fair price shop dealers in frustration in West Bengal.
One state that deserves a mention for dealing with this problem is Chattisgarh. Food grains are delivered at the door-steps of fair priced shops in GPS-enabled trucks. All the 10, 000 shops in the state are being uploaded online along with the complete list of BPL cardholders. Plan is to eventually track off take of food grains by all 32 lakh card holders. This process sounds good, but let’s see how soon and effectively is it implemented.
Now that Bihar is flooded, you can imagine how relief work would be taking place there. I hope politicians do not eat into poor people’s food. Folks at Jain Hind blog (where I used to write) have joined hands with the organisation Doctors For You to raise funds for the people affected in the Bihar floods. Click here to donate.
Indian Brides of Southall (News a year ago)
Another news report says that several Punjabi, specifically Sikh brides from Southall were committing suicide at railway tracks. (Shefaly, have you heard any such news recently?) Mostly these women were victim of domestic violence, domestic slavery (now who coined this term?) and adultery. Reportedlly, the ma-in-laws reportedly, after collecting dowry, couldn’t care less if their daughter-in-laws died. They do their best to drive them out of homes. These Indian brides have no one to turn to in an alien country and are loathe telling their parents for fear of ridicule. Death seems to be better option. It hurts to know this. Why these women did not have survival instincts that could override the fear of ridicule or shame? Was it that bad that it defied their natural instincts to live and survive?
On a lighter note, we will have both Dusshera and Diwali next month. I was reading an article how Marathis celebrate their Diwalis with traditional magazines called Ank. These are magazines published specifically during Diwali time that offer articles, essays, short stories, poetry, cartoons and translations. Some of the famous ones are Mouj, Akshar, Dipotsav and Nav Manoos. This a said to be 100-year -old tradition unique to Maharshtra.
However, some people feel that these aanks may need to attract younger readers too with shift in subject range. Last year 5 lakh copies were sold in Maharashtra. I find that interesting, I would like to see a copy of an ank this Diwali. Nita, are you listening? 😛
Here’s one I found at scribd.