Bihar was the first state to complete the Socio – Economic and Caste Census (SECC) survey and then announce that this would be used as the basis of rolling out the NFSA. The SECC therefore became a major point of focus for the sangathan.
Even when the JJSS existed as the Jan Jagaran Abhiyan in 2009, we had gone to Delhi in one of our first rallies of the Right to Food Campaign, demanding “APL-BPL khatam karo! sab ko ration do!!”
Being part of this campaign for a new food act in the country paid dividends when the NFSA was made in 2013. This Act universalized the Public Distribution System and now 86% rural population in Bihar is eligible to get rations under the PDS. It also provides rations at two rupees and three rupees per kg (for wheat and rice respectively).
It is to the credit of the Bihar state Government that it also rolled out the NFSA as per schedule in February, 2014. However there were many issues in the SECC, some of which were documented in the first report prepared by the JJSS, in February, 2014. Local corruption also seeped into the SECC, where Panchayat Level Officers (PLOs) asked for varying commissions of 10 rupees to 100 rupees for distribution of SECC hard copies or copies of the SECC draft list, on the basis of which objections could be filed. In cases which were raised by JJSS members, PLOs were pressurized into returning this money.