Kochi: The Kerala State Planning Board says that the state aims to become the first to eliminate absolute poverty in the country.
The approach paper prepared for the 13th plan by the Board also promises to put the PDS back on rails in the state. The panel also mooted the idea of encouraging the establishment of feeding centres that will provide free cooked meals for the poorest and destitute.
According to the approach paper work to overcome absolute poverty could be achieved by means of “people’s participation and a careful system of identification and analyses of the cause of poverty in each individual case”.
Based on the Tendulkar poverty line the approach paper has stated that the head count ratio of poverty was 9.1 per cent in rural areas and 5 per cent in urban areas.
In absolute terms this works out to be 15.5 lakh persons in rural and 8.5 lakh persons in urban areas living below the poverty line. The plan panel has set a target of lifting this many persons above the BPL threshold.
Blaming an unwarranted delay in implementing the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the 12th Plan period the approach paper said during the 13th plan period the state government will put the PDS back on its feet.
“In particular, the Plan will help ensure that a larger share of beneficiaries than envisaged by the original NFSA design receives subsidised food grains. End-to-end computerisation of PDS network, which will streamline food supply and distribution and facilitate the identification of duplicate ration cards, will be completed”, the paper said.
The paper has also called for other policy level initiatives for meeting the objective of hunger-free state.
“The 13th Plan will support efforts to strengthen and modernise the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme. It will support efforts to distribute micro-nutrient-fortified food grain as part of these schemes”....