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Showing posts from July, 2010

FOOD WASTED IN FCI GODOWNS COULD HAVE FED 2500 LAKH FAMILIES FOR 10 YEARS!!! DO WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT FOOD SECURITY ANYMORE?

Though a couple of months back I did write on this topic of Right to Food Act (refer April 18th, 2010 issue of TSI), I thought that one column could not have done justice to such a vast topic! Similar to what I wrote in my earlier column, there’s no doubt that the National Food Security Bill would come as a blessing for millions of families who sleep on empty stomachs; but the real question is, how will our authorities manage to mobilize this huge quantity of grains. Distribution in itself is a huge bottleneck, which I covered in detail in my previous column. But more than that, the other impediments are procurement and storage! Going by Food Security Bill recommendations, if the government has to distribute 420 kilograms of food grains to each of the 830 lakh BPL families every year, the government would require 350 lakh tonnes of grain every year! My skepticism behind the ‘success’ of this bill revolves around the current state of our Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns! The obs

IN THE INSURANCE IMBROGLIO, THE COMMON MAN IS THE SCAPEGOAT AGAIN!

Since the past two weeks, insurance companies proffering health insurance (18 major ones, including four public sector entities) have announced their decision to discontinue the cashless facility. Their argument – the bills from the bigger hospitals are inflated, which in turn is hitting their bottom lines! Reports indicate that the annual premium collected by the health insurers is around Rs. 8,000 crores whereas the outflow in terms of settlements is around Rs. 12,000 crores. Their biggest contention is that certain hospitals do not subscribe to the package rates provided by the insuring companies. And so, as a result, insurance companies have de-listed almost 150 hospitals in Delhi and NCR alone from their list and have also stopped giving cashless facilities to the insured, as of now. In fact, there are four key stakeholders to this current imbroglio. The first is the group of insurance companies; the second are the large hospitals; the third are the state governments (as health i

PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT IN SCHOOLS LEADING TO DEATHS AND SUICIDES… ARE WE FIT TO BE TEACHERS?

When I was growing up in one of the better schools of Delhi, it was most common to see teachers slapping students. Scales being broken on our knuckles was as common a sight too, and as early as in class fifth, though luckily I always escaped. When I reached class sixth, I wasn’t that lucky. In one of the sculpture classes, an assistant came around and with his hard hands, slapped me hard on my head, because in all my creative excitement, I was engaged in talking to my friend Partho Saha, who was someone I looked up to when it came to creativity (I still do; and today he heads most of our technology projects at Planman, along with being a Dean at IIPM). I was furious. I wanted to hit back. I controlled myself, but went back home and told my father that he must do something about it. He was from the same school of thought as mine – rather, I had inherited his points of view. So the next day, my father took me to the principal of our school – a legendary name in education those days, R S

CORRUPTION IN SARVA SIKSHA ABHIYAN HAS NOT JUST ROBBED TODAY’S EDUCATION FROM THE LIVES OF CRORES OF CHILDREN,

BUT ALSO DESTROYED THEIR CHANCES OF DIGNIFIED LIVING FOREVER Just like the last time I wrote about one of the landmark developmental initiatives of the UPA government – NREGA – this time I decided to write upon an equally, or rather more significant, developmental initiative: Sarva Siksha Abhiyan; an initiative which holds the promise of transforming the entire socio-economic landscape of the nation, if delivered to its potential! Now, there is a big ’if’ here, as going by precedence, each and every developmental initiative of the government has been full of corruption, coupled with delivery inadequacies. And the same has been a reality with respect to SSA as well. A recent report by British media revealed that millions of pounds of aid for education under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme have literally disappeared. The report put this figure at a staggering £340 million, which is around Rs 2,327 crore! To further this report, the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) inve