In a twist of fate, the women's reservation bill recently sailed through both houses of Parliament, signaling a long-awaited victory for gender equality. However, the triumph is shrouded in uncertainty. The bill's implementation hinges on the elusive delimitation exercise, a process contingent on the government's willingness to conduct the next census. The Centre has already deferred this crucial task by two years, leaving the nation in the dark about when the census will eventually take place.
This baffling conundrum ensures that, despite the bill's resounding success in Parliament, the women of India remain in agonizing suspense, yearning for their long-delayed right to representation in the nation's parliament.
Yet, women's reservation is just one facet of a broader issue stemming from the government's reluctance to update census data. A staggering 14 million citizens are embroiled in a relentless struggle, fighting for what is rightfully theirs: the Right to Food.
Prime Minister Modi’s government proudly boasts about the world's most extensive food security program, a lifeline for more than 80 crore people. However, a looming specter casts a pall over this success story, as a staggering 14 crore individuals are relegated to the shadows, denied access to the life-sustaining benefits of this critical scheme.
The absence of up-to-date data has left both the Centre and states clutching at the straws of a decade-old list of beneficiaries, a document last revised in 2011.
Outlook Business Correspondent embarked on a poignant journey, traversing the heartland of Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. There, a grim reality unfolded as countless people in these districts tirelessly traversed the bureaucratic labyrinth, desperately seeking their rightful share of free ration.
The National Food Security Act, which serves as the basis for ration allocations to states and Union territories, relies heavily on the elusive census data. Regrettably, the delay in conducting the census has tied the hands of state governments, leaving them unable to extend ration benefits to the new beneficiaries – those individuals who should rightfully have been included in the census count. With general elections for the next Lok Sabha just a year away, the prospect of a census anytime soon appears increasingly remote. Thus, the plight continues for millions of Indians, adrift in a vast nation, yearning for their due, all held hostage by the glaring absence of accurate data. For the full account of the heart-rending saga of these 14 crore Indians, delve deeper into their story here: How India abandoned 14 crore citizens on a policy paper