Several civil society groups are mounting a campaign for universal food rights and will march with 6,000 people to Parliament on November 26, to press enactment of a Right to Food Bill.
The leading groups in the campaign include the Right to Food Campaign, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and National Campaign for Dalit Rights. They are demanding a public distribution system (PDS) that does not distinguish between those above or below the poverty line on subsidised foodgrain, pulses and oil. And a five-yearly food entitlement census.
Presenting a draft Bill which incorporates these measures, activists Jean Dreze, Kavita Srivastava and Annie Raja today said poor implementation of the PDS is no reason for closing it. They said it should be reformed to enable supply of at least 14 kg of grains, 800g of oil and 1.5 kg of pulses per person every month.
These figures are based on estimates of physical requirement calculated by the National Institute of Nutrition.