Turn down the heat : climate extremes, regional impacts, and the case for resilience – full report (English)


This report focuses on the risks of climate change to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and South Asia. Building on the 2012 report, Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided, this new scientific analysis examines the likely impacts of present day, 2°C and 4°C warming on agricultural production, water resources, and coastal vulnerability for affected populations. It finds many significant climate and development impacts are already being felt in some regions, and in some cases multiple threats of increasing extreme heat waves, sea level rise, more severe storms, droughts and floods are expected to have further severe negative implications for the poorest. Climate related extreme events could push households below the poverty trap threshold. High temperature extremes appear likely to affect yields of rice, wheat, maize and other important crops, adversely affecting food security. Promoting economic growth and the eradication of poverty and inequality will thus be an increasingly challenging task under future climate change. Immediate steps are needed to help countries adapt to the risks already locked in at current levels of 0.8°C warming, but with ambitious global action to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, many of the worst projected climate impacts could still be avoided by holding warming below 2°C.


World Bank dictates India’s food policy

Tarun Nangia

Express News ServiceLast Updated : 05 Jun 2011 09:46:11 AM IST
NEWDELHI: The World Bank and a pliant UPA Government plan to do away with India’s public distribution system and shut down four lakh ration shops. The excuse-the Public Distribution System (PDS) spends Rs 45,000 crore every year to supply BPL families wheat, rice, kerosene and sugar of which 60 per cent of grain is looted by the food mafia. The 412page ‘World Bank Report: Social Protection for Changing India’, released on May 17, advocates a cashforgrain scheme under which women will be given Rs 1,100 per month for food. The World Bank doesn’t tell us how this spend will be monitored, or whether it is enough to feed a family of at least four members.
The hypocrisy is blatant-as the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council pushes increasing allocation of foodgrain to the poor under the proposed Food Security Act, the Government acting on the World Bank report will close all ration shops. A pilot project in Delhi initiated by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is already on, which according to the report is “fundamental reform which allows for cash transfers instead of foodbased transfers, either when the state proves itself unable to fulfill its food transfer obligations or by offering households the choice of grain or the cash equivalent of the grain subsidy”. The government hasn’t made public the ‘Parivartan’ reports on the basis of which ration shops are to be closed.
The World Bank report states: in 2009 electoral campaign, the Congress promised a legislation on the right to food, assuring BPL households of 25 kg rice or wheat at Rs 3 per kg, as well as subsidised community kitchens in all cities for the homeless and migrants. The World Bank does not mention how the new cash-for-food scheme will benefit these unfortunates. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, at present the Planning Commission’s deputy chairperson, once served as a high ranking World Bank official. The report says states with the highest poverty rates have the fewest ration cards-onethird of Jharkhand, onethird of Chhattisgarh and 30 per cent of Bihar.
The report argues that by distributing cash, they are assured of food. The World Bank is apprehensive of facing resistance from the ration shop owners and the PDS establishment; Food Corporation of India alone employs 4.5 lakh people. “There is a large internal bureaucracy running PDS which is likely to resist fundamental reform options which would undermine their role,” warns the report. The report team was led by Philip O’Keefe, whose core team included Puja Vasudeva Dutta, Mohammed Ihsan Ajwad, Kalanidhi Subbarao, Robert Palacios, Rinku Murgai and Dina UmaliDeininger.
Wadhwa report on PDS reform rotting
Somewhere in a dusty government cabinet, Justice D P Wadhwa’s report on public distribution system (PDS) reform is gathering dust. It notes that the “central vigilance committee has found the Government of Delhi has not set up any system for monitoring the working of fair price shops through the network of the National Informatics Centre or otherwise.” The Wadhwa Committee was constituted as a result of a writ petition filed by social activists in 2001. The panel’s report was released in March last year. Among other recommendations of the Wadhwa Committee are: Go Hitech: The committee recommended electronic weighing scales connected to computers to be placed in central and state government warehouses, enabling immediate data upload about quantity of grain loaded in trucks and eliminating pilferage. GPS should be installed in trucks. Before commodities are loaded, each bag would need a barcode sticker that has the fair price shop number, loading date, type of commodity and a unique four digit number for the consignment. The automated system would indicate the exact number bags sent from Food Corporation of India to the shop, which can later be confirmed online. Barcoded food coupons, biometric cards with details like denomination, price, serial number, name and number of ration shop, will be scanned before foodgrain is handed over. The personal details of all ration card holders would be stored electronically in all ration shops. A fingerprint scanner will identify the card owner, and a computer will calculate how much grain he is eligible for. Helpline: A toll free 24/7 national consumer helpline with an inhouse call centre should be set up. All conversations to the helpline to be recorded. All grievances to be forwarded to section incharge for solutions. Public meetings must be organised by food and supply officers twice a month on first and third Saturdays every month, between 25 pm. Transparency: A system of public audit must be started, under which any ration card holder can, for a fee, get copies of documents at the ration shop. Each shop must display at a prominent place, the list of Antodaya beneficiaries, entitlement of essential commodities, scale of issue, retail issue prices, timings of opening and closing of fair price shops, stock of essential commodities received during the month, the opening and closing stock of essential commodities and the authority of redressal of grievances, lodging complaints with respect to quality and quantity of essential commodities under PDS and the weekly off day. The fair price shop owner has to maintain records of ration card holders, stock register and issue of sale register, copies of which have to be furnished to the Nagar Palika, vigilance committee or any other body authorised by the state government. Samples of foodgrains being sold have to be displayed at the shop. All food supply officers should direct fair price shop owners under their jurisdiction, to put their authenticated signatures on the receipt, as acknowledgement of receiving supplies, along with the weight challan memo showing name, licence number and shop address. The report says Clause 8 of the PDS Control Order, 2001, makes it mandatory for the state government to monitor the functioning of the ration shop through a computer network installed in the district national information centres. The central vigilance committee has discovered that the Government of Delhi has not set up any system, it says.

Independent People's Tribunal Charges the World Bank of Human Rights Abuse and Environmental Damage in India

World Bank Tribunal Jury Findings

A thirteen member panel consisting of prominent Indian and international jurists, economists, scientists, retied government officials, and social and religious leaders have found the World Bank guilty of harming the environment and lowering the standard of living for most Indians.

From 21 – 24 September 2007, the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus was the venue for an Independent People’s Tribunal on the World Bank Group in India. It was the first time a broad spectrum of Indian society has come together to look at the damage caused by the World Bank to the country as a whole. Affected communities, expert witnesses, and over 40 concerned groups presented testimonies in order to evaluate the impact of the World Bank across 26 sectors of social and economic development in India.  After reviewing over a thousand pages of transcripts the jury has put together an extensive and substantiated list of twenty-nine specific charges against the Bank. These findings are of critical importance in light of the pace in which current development policies are changing the country.

Charges in the final report include: failure in its mission to reduce poverty, advocacy of policies which contribute to increased hunger, contributing to the agricultural crisis, and deliberate posting of former staff in the Indian bureaucracy in order to influence policy and diluting Indian environmental legislation.

“The evidence and depositions we have witnessed presents a disturbing and shocking picture of increased and needless human suffering since 1991 among hundreds of millions of India’s poorest and most disadvantaged in rural areas and in the cities. It is clear to us that a significant number of Indian government policies and projects financed and influenced by the World Bank have contributed directly and/or indirectly to this increased impoverishment and suffering. All this has taken place while a minority of India’s population that constitutes the middle class and rich has enjoyed the fruits of an economic boom…… India and the international community must join to hold the World Bank accountable for policies and projects that in practice directly contradict its mandate of alleviating poverty for the poorest.”

– Preliminary Findings by the Jury of the Independent People’s Tribunal on the World Bank Group in India

We hope that such a strong statement from this distinguished group will contribute significantly to the debate on the legitimacy of the Bank’s operations in the country and as an institution. On the occasion of its anniversary we are happy to send you the final jury findings of the Tribunal.

The impact of this Tribunal has already been significant. The Tribunal process quickly inspired similar processes in The Hague, Netherlands and in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Copies of this report have been sent to the World Bank, Members of Parliament, relevant government ministries and the newly formed US Congressional Committee on the World Bank. To ensure that these findings generate much needed debate we need your active support.

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India down as World Bank ups its poverty threshold

ENS Economic Bureau Posted online:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The number swelled to 456 million in 2005 from 420 million in 1981

NEW DELHI, AUGUST 26: Compared with 1981, 36 million more Indians are

now living below the poverty line, according to the new poverty

estimate released by the World Bank. Based on new data and higher

costs of living across the world, the World Bank has revised its

threshold of poverty to less than $1.25 a day, up from the previous

measure of one dollar a day. And this redefinition paints a sorry

picture of the poverty scenario for Indian policymakers in particular.

As per the new definition, the number of po

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or in India swelled to

almost 456 million people in 2005, up from 420 million in 1981. In

relative terms, however, the percentage of Indian poor has declined

from 60 per cent in 1981 to 42 per cent in 2005.

There is, however, a significant mismatch between the Indian

government’s official poverty estimates in 2004-05, which were to the

tune of 301.72 million people or 27.5 per cent of the total

population. However, unlike the World Bank figures, India’s official

estimate is based on the average calorie intake per day as opposed to

average daily wages. Speaking to The Indian Express, Pronab Sen, chief

statistician of India, said, “We don’t accept the World Bank estimate

of poverty since it is based on a single-figure formula, which is not

suited to the Indian situation. It doesn’t take into account the price

differentials between urban and rural areas or even between different

states.” The World Bank says its redefinition of the poverty line is

not arbitrary. It is the average poverty line found in the poorest

10-20 countries, it says. In the global context, the total number of

people living on less than $1.25 a day is 1.4 billion or roughly 26

per cent of the world population.


WHILE THE number of poor according to the new definition has grown,

that of people living on less than a dollar a day has declined to

266.5 mn (24%) in 2005 from 296 mn (42%) in 1981

THIS MEANS the number of people just above this line is still very

high and it is not falling

THOUGH A high growth has helped alleviate poverty, the Bank also

highlighted the importance of making growth more inclusive

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