The public distribution system, which provides food at low prices, is a subject of vital concern. There is a growing realization that thought Pakistan has enough food to feed its masses three square meals a day, the monster of starvation and food insecurity continues to haunt the poor in our country.
Increasing the purchasing power of the poor through providing productive employment leading to rising income, and thus good standard of living is the ultimate objective of public policy. However, till then, there is a need to provide assured supply of food through a restructured more efficient and decentralized public distribution system (PDS).
Although the PDS is extensive – it is one of the largest such systems in the world – it has yet to reach the rural poor and the far off places. It remains an urban phenomenon, with the majority of the rural poor still out of its reach due to lack of economic and physical access. The poorest in the cities and the migrants are left out, for they generally do not possess ration cards. The allocation of PDS supplies in big cities is larger than in rural areas. In view of such deficiencies in the system, the PDS urgently needs to be streamlined. In addition, considering the large food grains production combined with food subsidy on one hand and the continuing slow starvation and dismal poverty of the rural population on the other, there is a strong case for making PDS target group oriented.
The growing salaried class is provided job security, regular income, and percent insulation against inflation. These gains of development have not percolated down to the vast majority of our working population. If one compares only dearness allowance to the employees in public and private sector and looks at its growth in the past few years, the rising food subsidy is insignificant to the point of inequity. The food subsidy is a kind of D.A. to the poor, the self-employed and those in the unorganized sector of the economy. However, what is most unfortunate is that out of the large budget of the so – called food subsidy, the major part of it is administrative cost and wastages. A small portion of the above budget goes to the real consumer and an even lesser portion to the poor who are in real need.
It is true that subsidies should not become a permanent feature except for the destitute, disabled widows and the old. It is also true that subsidies often create a psychology of dependence and hence is habit – forming, killing the general initiative of the people. By making PDS target group oriented, not only the poorest and neediest would be reached without additional cost, but it will actually cut overall costs incurred on large cities and for better off localities. When the food and food subsidy are limited the rural and urban poor should have the priority in the PDS supplies. The PDS should be closely linked with programs of employment generation and nutrition improvement.
What should be an appropriate step to make the PDS effective?
Recent advances in science and technology have made it possible for geneticists to find out abnormalities in the unborn foetus and take remedial action to rectify some defects which would otherwise prove to be fatal to the child. Though genetic engineering is still at its infancy, scientists can now predict with greater accuracy a genetic disorder. It is not yet an exact science since they are not in a position to predict when exactly a genetic disorder will set in. While they have not yet been able to change the genetic order of the gene in germs, they are optimistic and are holding out that in the near future they might be successful in achieving this feat. They have, however, acquired the ability in manipulating tissue cells. However, genetic mis-information can sometimes be damaging for it may adversely affect people psychologically. Genetic information may lead to a tendency to brand some people as inferiors. Genetic information can therefore be abused and its application in deciding the sex of the foetus and its subsequent abortion is now hotly debated on ethical lines. But on this issue geneticists cannot be squarely blamed though this charge has often been leveled at them. It is mainly a societal problem. At present genetic engineering is a costly process of detecting disorders but scientists hope to reduce the costs when technology becomes more advanced. This is why much progress in this area has been possible in scientifically advanced and rich countries like the U.S.A., U.K. and Japan. It remains to be seen if in the future this science will lead to the development of a race of supermen or will be able to obliterate disease from this world.
According to the author, the present state of knowledge about heredity has mad geneticists
Chocolate – there’s nothing quite like it, is there? Chocolate is simply delicious. What is chocolate? Where does it come from?
Christopher Columbus was probably the first to take cacao beans from the New World to Europe in around 1502. But the history of chocolate goes back at least 4,000 years! The Aztecs, who lived in America, through that their bitter cacao drink was a divine gift from heaven. In fact, the scientist Carolus Linnaeus named the plant Theobroma, which means “food of the gods”
The Spanish explorer Hernando Cortex went to America in 1519. He visited the Mexican emperor Montezuma. He saw that Montezuma drank cacao mixed with vanilla and spices. Cortez took some cacao home as a gift to the Spanish King Charles. In Spain, people began to drink Cortez’s chocolate in drink with chili peppers. However, the natural taste of cacao was too bitter for most people. To sweeten the drink, Europeans added sugar to the cacao drink. As a sweet drink, it became more popular. By the 17th century, rich people in Europe were drinking it.
Later, people started using chocolate in pastries, like pies and cakes. In 1828, Dutch chocolate makers started using a new process for removing the fat from cacao beans, and getting to the center of the cacao bean. The Dutch chocolate maker Conrad J. Van Houten made a machine that pressed the fat from the bean. The resulting powder mixed better with water than cacao did. Now, some call van Houten’s chocolate “Dutch chocolate.”
It was easy to mix Dutuch chocolate powder with sugar. So other chocolate makers started trying new recipes that used powdered chocolate. People started mixing sweetened chocolate with cocoa butter to make solid chocolate bars. In 1849, an English chocolate maker made the first chocolate bar. In the 19th century, the Swiss started making milk chocolate by mixing powdered milk with sweetened chocolate. Milk chocolate has not changed much since this process was invented.
Today, two countries – Brazil and Ivory Coast – account for almost half the world’s chocolate. The United States imports most of the chocolate in the world, but the Swiss eat the most chocolate per person. The most chocolate eaten today is sweet milk chocolate, but people also eat white chocolate and dark chocolate.
Cocoa and dark chocolate are believed to help prevent heart attacks, or help keep from happening. They are supposed to be good for the circulatory system. On the other hand, the high fat content of chocolate can cause weight gain, which is not good for people’s health. Other health claims for chocolate have not been proven, but some research shows that chocolate could be good for the brain.
Chocolate is a popular holiday gift. A popular Valentine’s Day gift is a box of chocolate candies with a card and flowers. Chocolate is sometimes given for Christmas and birthdays. Chocolate eggs are sometimes given at Easter.
Chocolate is toxic to some animals. An ingredient in chocolate is poisonous to dogs, cats, parrots, small rodents, and some livestock. Their bodies cannot process some if the chemicals found in chocolate. Therefore, they should never be fed chocolate.
Who made the first powdered chocolate?