Food insecurity is not just a pervasive problem, it is a growing one, especially because of the continued increase in most food prices over the past few years. yet here too, instead of addressing the crucial issues of domestic food supply and effective public distribution of affordable food, the government appears to be toying with the idea of substituting for food provision with a somewhat harebrained scheme of cash transfers based on electronic identification.
The promised Food Security Bill languishes in parliamentary limbo, without any of the important provisions that would give it real meaning and clout.
So much bad news, so many concerns - is there nothing to look forward to?
In fact, 2013 may still turn out to be a better year, mainly because of growing public awareness and upsurge that could still force the government to change direction in a number of crucial areas.
2012 was a tough year for the Indian people as a whole, but it was also a year of public protests that have begun to be directed at some of the essential issues, ranging from more effective public provision, to greater transparency in policy formulation and implementation, to better and more comprehensive social protection measures, to changes in laws, administration and social norms to ensure the physical safety of women and girls.
These public demands are became more vociferous as 2012 drew to a close, and it is this continuing vibrancy of Indian democracy that creates grounds for some optimism for the year ahead.
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