Rukmini S. responds:

We stand by our story, which was entirely based on analyses of up-to-date, official and published data.

The arguments the Gujarat Chief Minister made in his letter to the Prime Minister on the provisions of the National Food Security Bill (NFSB) were widely reported in the media and are not relevant to my story. The letter was simply a news peg to go beyond the government's claims, to what the numbers actually say about the state of the PDS in Gujarat. The flaws in the NFSB are many, and have been detailed at length elsewhere in The Hindu.

The analysis of 2009-10 NSSO data was done not by “Ms Dand,” as Mr. Gupta states, but by IIT-Delhi economist Dr. Reetika Khera, as I clearly mention in the story, and was published in the Economic & Political Weekly. In fact, more recent analysis published by the economist Himanshu has shown that leakage of grain in Gujarat has got worse in 2011-12.

The problems in the methodology of identifying the poor are serious, but neither unique to Gujarat nor relevant in this case. Many States, including Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh, moreover, have chosen to go beyond Central caps.

I am aware that the diversion of grain from the APL quota is approved by the Centre, and hence used the word “officially.” The claim that APL families get no grain was, again, as we say in the story, made by the Justice Wadhwa Committee in 2009, and then reiterated from the field by the Anna Adhikar Suraksha Abhiyaan in 2013.

Nowhere does the Gujarat government counter the two central criticisms of the PDS in Gujarat — that it is more exclusionary than the NFSB, and that it has among the country’s highest rates of grain diversion.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 4:18:34 AM |

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