Dear Reader,

The issue of the packaged-food industry’s penchant for pushing foods high in fat, salt or sugar and low in fibre and other micronutrients has been a long and vexed one. Regulators the world over have tried to minimise the health risks by instituting clear guidelines for labelling on packages to ensure that buyers are aware of the nature and potential risk of what they consume.

However, the Indian story has been shockingly different. A Down To Earth investigation reveals that seven years, four committees and two draft regulations later, not only has the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) not instituted the Front-of-Pack (FoP) labelling but for extraneous reasons has also progressively diluted the existing provisions to an extent that they are now virtually ineffectual.

As India reaches new milestones in its Covid vaccination campaign, it confronts the challenge of extending it to the hinterland, the rural areas. The Wire delves deep into the issues with Anurag Behar, who outlines the challenge of connectivity, generating data, and its inadequacy in facilitating last-mile access to citizens in far-flung areas, especially those who have already taken the first dose.

EPW analyses the 77th round of the National Sample Survey report on agriculture and rural households, which reveals that fragmented landholdings and slow growth of income from crop and animal farming have forced an increasing number of agricultural households to take up wage labour to sustain their livelihoods.

The News Minute reports from Telangana, and The Caravan from Bihar, on the plight of families of manual scavengers who died due to the unsafe conditions of their work. Many years on, the kin of the deceased are yet to receive compensation.

And, as Punjab gets its first Dalit Chief Minister in its history, The Print looks at the social and political significance of the move in the milieu of the existing caste system in the state, especially the perceived resurgence of the Dalit community.

For more such stories from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Food fudge: The story behind why India still does not have front-of-pack labelling

In a three-part series, Down To Earth reveals that, not only does India not have a clear labelling system to warn consumers about harmful levels of fat, sugar and salt in processed foods but the provisions have also been diluted at every step in the last seven years.

Read Here


Flawed Assumptions and Lack of Critical Detail Is Holding up Vaccination in Rural India

The Wire discusses the problems in taking the vaccines to the hinterland to reach the citizens in the vast corners of India, where generating and handling data has become as serious a challenge as the act of vaccination itself.

Watch Here


Government Policies Drive Farmers to Penury

EPW reports that the National Sample Survey on agricultural and rural households reveals that wages now account for almost half the monthly income of agricultural households. This is a major shift as wage income has now overtaken the income from crop production.

Read Here


These families lost kin to manual scavenging decade ago, but no sign of compensation

The News Minute delves deeper into the issue of manual scavenging and narrates how over a dozen families in Telangana who lost their family members in manual scavenging accidents are yet to receive financial compensation as promised by the authorities.

Read Here


Caste among the Sikhs, role it plays in Punjab politics & what a Dalit Sikh CM means

ThePrint analyses the repercussions and the social make-up that induced the selection of a Dalit as the chief minister of the important and vital state of Punjab.

Watch Here

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