The Working Group decided to look at the question of enforcement of the entitlements

The National Advisory Council (NAC) is working to strengthen the new rights-based architecture in the country, by creating a mechanism that will put pressure on the States to strictly implement not just the social sector schemes the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has created of late, but also those in the works such as the one related to food security.

NAC sources told The Hindu that while the government had enacted laws on the Right to Work (in the shape of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) as well as the Right to Education, there was clearly a gap between promise and compliance. By contrast, the legislation on the Right to Information, these sources said, had met with greater success because it had a stronger implementation machinery.

The subject came up when members of the NAC's Working Group on Food Security met here on Tuesday to discuss the issue of enforcement of the proposed Right to Food Security. It was felt that a mechanism should be created at the district level so that any citizen could approach a designated authority and secure his or her right to work, education and, soon, food. And if that authority proved to be unresponsive, there should be a system through which the erring official could be penalised, these sources added.

The full NAC was to have met on Tuesday, but since its chairperson Sonia Gandhi was occupied with Congress affairs, spilling over from the party's just-concluded plenary session, and the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the meeting was postponed till next month.

Recommendations

Even as a group of experts appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to examine the financial and other implications of the NAC-suggested food entitlements is finalising its recommendations, the Working Group on Tuesday decided to look at the all-important question of enforcement of the entitlements. The group of experts, NAC sources indicated, was likely to finalise its recommendations by month end.

Another NAC Working Group met here on Tuesday to see if it was possible to include domestic workers in the Bill being drafted for the protection of the unorganised sector.

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