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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Beneficiary identification for NFSA in Odisha may exclude poor migrants

Umi Daniel

The Government of Odisha, department of Civil Supplies has launched state wide first phase identification of beneficiary to be included to access subsidies food grain under National Food Security Act. The Act was passed by the government of India and Odisha is now going to roll out the process to include vulnerable, destitute and poor household under the programme.

The Govt of Odisha has launched a massive drive in all the 30 district to identify the poor under the Act. The government has also notified both exclusion and atomatic inclusion criteria for the enumeration. While, income tax payers, people having four wheeler s, having government or public sector jobs,  like eight criteria to be excluded from enrolling under the programme. However, the inclusion criteria has also been chalked out to include, primitive tribal group, physically challenged and destitute, construction workers in the Act in both urban and rural Odisha.

The BPL (Below Poverty Line) survey was last conducted in 1997 and close to 48.58 lakh families in Odisha was being enumerated as poor household to access subsidized rice. However, the latest Planning Commission report underestimates the poverty headcount of Government of Odisha and puts it as 32.98 lakh. The BPL controversy will now be resolved once the final survey is done in Odisha to have an actual data on the BPL households.

On the other hand, I have been advocating in this blog as how the important surveys, enumeration or participation in the elections, if not planned properly will bypass the poor migrant workers.  The current enumeration for identification of beneficiary for NFSA has began in February and the last phase will be conducted in August 2017. The high migration region of Odisha where seasonal migration began in October & December and the people only to come during July and August are going to be excluded from the beneficiary selection process and will be eliminated from accessing subsidies rice under the National Food Security Act. The one size fits all surveys and enumeration should take note  about the seasonality of peoples important event, mobility and engagements so that the poor and disadvantage and eligible household are not excluded from the process. 

The government should provide a window of opportunity for these people to apply for inclusion into the beneficiary identification process at the later date. The Panchayats should identify such families and resolve in the Grama Sabha during February to include the names of migrant households who will later be included into the final list. 

Moreover, proper and adequate advertisement of such enrollment drive is must so that, some migrant may come back to their home for enrolling themselves into the NFSA survey. 

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