Right to Basic Needs

Right to Basic Needs
Progress made and way forward
Suresh P Singh
Basic needs and right to basic needs
Types of basic needs
How is the right to basic needs positioned?
Objectives, scope and methodology of the study
Progress and way forward
Basic needs and basic rights
 Basic needs: needs which are critical for survival and normal
mental and physical health of people. These include:
drinking water and sanitation;
energy; and
 Right to basic needs: the right to access needs indicated above.
Objectives, scope and methodology
 Objectives
 To assess progress made towards right to basic needs and identifying
opportunities and threats.
 Scope
 All India
 Methodology
 Review and analysis of primary (consumers’ perception) and secondary
data on progress on each of the basic rights
Progress made towards right to basic needs
Some Indicators of Basic Needs in India
Food grain net availability
Fabrics (Cotton & Manmade Fabrics)
Kgs. Per
Per capita
Bed/per th.
Hospital beds
Households with safe
drinking water
Households with improved
sanitation facility
Electricity consumption
Road length
Km (mn)
Un-surfaced road/total road
Right to food
Progress and the way forward
About 50% consumers access PDS.
– Nearly 71% of them also access standalone/retail shops.
• Dependence on PDS is high among BPL households – about 73% BPL household’s
access PDS compared to 38% APL households.
• 44% consumers receive appropriate quantity of food grains from PDS on a regular basis,
while 26% never receive appropriate quantity of food grains from PDS.
• About 5% of those who access PDS are not aware about their entitlement and importantly
85% of such respondents are from rural areas.
• 42% consumers receive food grains on the government prescribed price; while 11% never
received food grains on prescribed price.
• 10% consumers not aware about prescribed rates and 81% of these are from rural areas.
• 45% respondents do not receive appropriate quantity at prescribed rate. Of these, 74%
respondents have never made a complaint regarding irregularities in PDS operations.
The PDS continues to remain the most important tool to address consumers’ right to food.
There is need for strengthening the system by strict and effective monitoring measures. Such
measures should include helping consumers to lodge complaints. There should also be a
mechanism timely redressal of such complaints. Besides, there is need for looking into issues
of PDS shop owners that result in leakages in the system.
Right to clothing
Progress and the way forward
There is presently no government scheme to address the issue effectively. This
makes right to clothing determined by the ability of a consumer to pay.
So far, the Government of India and various State Governments efforts (such as
distribution of clothes through PDS) towards clothing have proved piecemeal.
Most of the states have already stopped distribution of clothes through the PDS. In
addition, the public distribution system appears grossly incapable of addressing the
Right to clothing is important in a country like India where nearly one-third of the
population live below or near the poverty line. The government should introduce a
targeted approach to help poor benefit from the scheme of distribution of cloth at
subsidised rates. There is also need for promoting initiatives such as clothes bank. This
is being done by some organisations, these might be extended through PPP to cover a
wider population.
Right to healthcare
Progress and the way forward
26% consumers have received institutional healthcare facility in last 6 months and
two-third of them have obtained healthcare facility from government hospitals.
26% respondents travelled more than 5 km to access health care facility.
Only about 31% consumers rate quality of healthcare facility as “good”. Majority of
them are from urban area. Close to 50% consumers rate healthcare facility as “fair”.
Only 44% consumers consider cost of obtaining healthcare services affordable.
According to 59% consumers, doctors do not generally prescribe generic or
competitively priced drugs/medicines. 43% consumers say that even if doctors do
so these medicines are not easily available in the market. Majority of such people
are from rural area and largely belong to BPL households.
In order to improve the situation, it is necessary to adopt a comprehensive and needbased health policy at the national (macro) level. The basic objective should be the
preventive aspects of disease control, but at the same time curative aspects should also
be strengthened. In addition, there should focus on controlling the price of essential/
lifesaving drugs. The existing drug policy needs to cover a larger number of such
drugs. There is also need for making these drugs available as and when required.
Right to drinking water and sanitation
Progress and the way forward
54% consumers meet their drinking water demand through government supply and
30% receive it from privately owned source like – bore well, well etc. The
remaining 16% receive drinking water form community sources/ shared sources
like – community hand pump, well etc.
Government supply is more common in urban area as compared to the other two
sources, while community sources are more in rural area.
74% consumers receive adequate quantity of drinking water from these sources.
Only 69% consumers believe that the water from these sources is potable and safe for drinking. About
22% consider their primary source of drinking water expensive, while 34% receive it for free.
26% consumers do not have access to toilets; the situation is worse in rural areas
where 33% do not have access to toilet facility.
Over three-fourth of urban respondents have access to a private toilet at home while
13% use a community toilet. About 12% do not have access to any toilet and
majority of them are from BPL Households.
Right to drinking water and sanitation
Progress and the way forward (contd..)
Only 16% of those who have toilet at home have reported receiving government
support for construction of toilet at home. About 24% respondents are aware about
government schemes such as Nirmal Gram Yojana/Integrated Low Cost Sanitation
Scheme/National Urban Sanitation Program aimed at providing affordable and
hygienic sanitation facility.
Out of 11,499 respondents covered under the survey only 17% believe that
government support for home community toilet is easily accessible.
To improve the situation, there is need for (a) developing an effective information
management system so that the physical and financial progress of water supply
facilities can be monitored periodically; (b) ensuring proper maintenance of the assets
created, involvement of the community is necessary; (c) implementing the maintenance
system in States with village level, block level and district level planning; and (d)
involving women in the selection and maintenance of the water supply systems.
Right to shelter
Progress and the way forward
70% consumers own a self-financed house on privately owned land, while 15%
received land from government housing scheme for construction of house. 5%
received full/ partial financial assistance from government.
Only 12% consumers who own a self-financed house on privately owned land have
tried to access government housing finance or bank finance scheme.
About 74% of such consumers believe that finance is not easily accessible to everyone and only 34%
consider terms of bank or government finance for housing affordable. Majority of such people belong
APL households in urban area.
Majority of those who have received full or partial financial assistance from
government belong to BPL category (8.5%).
Rented accommodations are more common in urban area (16%) as compared to
rural area (6%).
To improve the situation, there is need for (a) extending government support to help
poor construct their houses, and (b) secondly making finance available and more
accessible to common people.
Right to education
Progress and the way forward
80% and 70% consumers believe that access to education has increased due to
Right to Education (RTE) and Mid-Day Meal Scheme respectively. Right to
education has played a vital role in increasing the access to education while midday meal scheme has motivated parents/ students to enrol into schools.
About 77% consumers expressed their desire to have a regulator for private schools.
The regulator can make education in private schools more accessible and affordable
for a common man which is not the case.
RTE needs to be effectively implemented with strong provision for poor students. The
universalisation of education is an important pillar for making people (consumers)
realise other rights. It is also important for making them understand their
Right to energy
Progress and the way forward
79% consumers have electricity connections, while among BPL households only
72% have electricity connection.
Despite having electricity connection, electricity supply still remains a major
challenge. Only 23% rural consumers receive more than 20 hours of electricity
supply in a normal day.
62% consumers consider electricity affordable and 68% of them are in urban area.
26% consumers are aware about electricity regulator and 78% of them belong are
from APL households.
Usage of LPG is significantly high in urban areas, while usage of wood is high
among rural areas and BPL households as major source of energy for cooking.
Right to energy
Progress and the way forward (contd..)
56% of those who use LPG or kerosene as their primary source of energy for
cooking reported incidence of obtaining LPG/kerosene from black market. About
20% of them always obtain LPG or Kerosene from black market;
Only 54% consumers consider their primary source of energy for cooking
affordable and 70% such respondents belong to APL families.
There are three basic issues that hamper access of energy to a significant number of
consumers. These are (a) shortage in power generation; (b) distribution and
transmission losses and (c) lack of affordability. To improve the overall accessibility
scenario, there is need for addressing all three problems identified above. There is also
need for strengthening infrastructure for generation of renewable sources of energy.
Right to transportation
Progress and the way forward
For 57% consumers, Bus/ Jeep is the most common mode of transport.
About 84% consumers commonly use public transport like bus, jeep, train, auto
rickshaw and taxi etc.
14% consumers use own vehicle/private mode of transport.
78% respondents believe that their common mode of transport is easily available
and accessible, however, only 54% consider them to be affordable.
There is need for extending road networks to effectively cover rural people.
Considering that roads are the dominant and convenient mode of transportation in
India compared to rail, water, and air transport, it must be given higher weightage in
the overall planning for country-wide connectivity.
Cross cutting issues hampering
achievement of basic rights
Lack of awareness about government schemes/initiatives
Inadequate complaint and redressal system
Lack of affordability
Inadequate involvement of people in government run welfare schemes
Unspecified role for Panchayati raj and community based organisations
What could be done:
• Bring in and empower Panchayati raj institutions for creating greater awareness,
lodging of complaints and their redressal.
• There is also need for including consumers’ basic rights and responsibilities in
education curricula at the secondary level
• While government campaign on creating awareness needs to be strengthened,
especially in the rural areas, government should also create a holistic mechanism
to transform its welfare schemes/ initiatives to outcome is urgently required.
Thank You!
[email protected]
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