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

The revolutionary poet Subramania Bharathi said if there is no food for an individual lets destroy the world. Each and every citizen has right to food clothing and shelter.

The condition of India five decade ago in 1960s was that she was not able to feed her people due to war and famine. The country had to import rice and wheat from US to satisfy the food grains need of her people.

With advent of green revolution (1964) a package of hybrid variety seeds fertilizers assured irrigation modern machineries turned India as self sufficient nation in food supply.

The government already offers food through various schemes such as food for work mid day meals for children and antyodaya anna yojana for poorest of poor.

Now, it has taken the challenging task of feeding one hundred twenty crore people. The food security bill is major achievement of the UPA government, which tries to subsidized food grains to vulnerable section of society.

The bill aims at providing rice at Rs 3/kg wheat at Rs 2/kg and millets at Rs 1/kg. Each member of family is entitled to get 5kg of grains. However the government is not providing oil and pulses at subsidized rates.

The bill entails to provide food security to 67 percent of population that is 75% in rural and 50% in urban areas.

As majority of people in India are poor so such scheme is necessary for their food security. The scheme shall be beneficial for people in forests and hilly tracts, where the problem of naxalism persists. Once these people are fed properly majority of internal disturbances can be minimized.

This scheme is highly successful in Tamil Nadu, Kerala Andhra Pradesh. In the state of Chattisgarh it is able to provide 90% food security to the people. It is popularly called Chattisgarh model. The government provides food grains to its people through public distribution system.

However, in order to provide food to the people the government has to bear the burden of additional subsidy of Rs.1.20 lakh crore which is equal to 1% of the GDP.

The burden can be overcome by encouraging exports of agricultural products like tea, coffee, cotton, milk products etc. This would enhance our foreign exchange earning capacity.

Employment opportunities should be generated in agriculture and industrial sectors. Household savings should be invested in industries.

Finally, the food security bill may not be considered as poll gimmick but should be seen as anti hunger action plan. There is only one thing in world in which we say is must for all and that is food, lets offer this to our fellow human beings.

-Padma Priya

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