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Food Security Bill - A poll gimmick or anti hunger action plan

We are working a lot for poor, we have brought in Right to Work, Right to Education and Right to Food for poor. Is this be moment to be proud of because of the poverty, despite of celebrating the 67th Independence Day, we hold our head with shame as we failed to eliminate poverty. India has the highest number of poor people among the BRICS nations. It is the highest number of malnutrition related cases and child mortality. There was never an introspection why there is poverty in India. If the government really wants to do anything for the poor then it must find the reason of that and provide a permanent solution.

According to recently passed most awaited food security bill, the people below poverty line in village and not in city will be benefitted. They will be able to save money because they will get food at a very low price and that money can be spent on medical and education. But is this reality? By international standards a person needs 14 kilos of cereals a month. If you look at our own survey, one conducted by the NSSO, you'll find that it says that the poorest people in rural areas needs at least 9.88 kilos of food grains a month. Government is providing just 7 kg. Government is just providing 50 percent of urban population with food grains under the scheme. "What will the rest eat? If I stay in a city and I am poor, what will I eat? Do I eat coal, do I eat oil?

The minimum support price must be revised every three years for the farmers. Will the price of diesel not increase in three years? "Is there a guarantee that the farmers will have the right price for their produce and their land will be protected? The government should bring in amendments that ensure that every grain produced by the farmers will be bought by the government.

This highly subsidized bill will not only increase the fiscal deficit but put pressure on the government to keep the MSP as low as possible. If the government is forced to import foodgrains because of a bad agriculture year, the bill will be unmanageable. The country's finances will go for a toss and the farmers will suffer the most.

If the Centre is taking credit for the Bill, it should also bear the expenditure. It is incorrect where the states spend the money and the Centre takes the credit. It is also sad, that the bill will not give universal coverage.

And last but not the least if this bill is pending for a long time then why this is passed just before the Elections? Is this to impress Indian Nationals?

Yes, the bill is a hasty measure to increase the Governments' political bargaining power nothing else.

Anubhav Mishra

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