How the food security bill will add up to country’s woes

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It’s a stereotyped mindset that speaking about poverty, malnutrition and hunger, the effigy of the African countries and people residing over there comes at the first place. Speaking about India, even though we claim ourselves being on the path of development and it’s a pretension by our politicians from varied parties that poverty is on the verge of extinction and very soon it’s likely to be eradicated. However, despite calling ourselves as a self sufficient and a country devoid of hunger, studies suggests that the condition of India is far worse that the African countries.

According to the World Bank, the rate of underweight children in India is highest among all other countries and is double than that of Sub-Saharan Africa. Keeping this scenario in mind the UPA-II’s Food Security Bill, finally got a green signal in the Parliament, first by the Lok Sabha on August 26th and then after a 10 hour long debate on 2nd September by the Rajya Sabha. Certainly, any concerned and responsible citizen who really wants the problems of starving Indians to be extirpated would never argue against it, however an abyss study of the bill would perhaps intrigue one to think that the bill is certainly a sole political interest by the UPA government and it would barely solve any problems of the countries indigent population. However, implementing it would in a way increase the country’s economic woes, further causing it to tremble.

Food Security Bill. Photo Credit: Steven Jackson Photography via  cc

Firstly, all are well aware that 2014 is knocking at the door i.e. time for the Lok Sabha Polls is nearing. This perhaps gives a reason to think, why only at this point of time the government became voracious for the bill and implementing it. When the government first, laid the bill in the Lok Sabha, the opposition disagreed to certain provisions and wanted its amendment. The government at once made up its mind for the amendments and agreed to all the demands of the opposition, without and discontentment that was hale enough. This is a clear indicative towards the government’s hastiness to secure its vote and states that the bill is not any measure for securing the country’s future. So, perhaps calling it a vote security bill won’t make any difference.

A thorough study of the Food Security Bill, shew that in the entire draft of 16 pages, only the initial 1-2 pages speaks about the provisions of the bill, whereas the entire bill is flooded with strategies about on how it will function. A point in the bill says there will be reformation of the PDS and a grievance redressal system would be formed and under it there will be provision for registering complains via internet, call centers, help lines and in the form of letters to the district and state forums. Now, the fact is the food security bill is intrigued towards the poverty stricken ones, so how can a person living in the state of hunger and leading a inhuman life can use the internet or the telephonic medium to complain about his/her pang. It’s the person’s affliction that matters to him and the knee wrenching process of complains doesn’t bother him in any way.

As result his poverty and starvation will continue, the food security bill thus failing to make any sort of impact. This clearly suggests that, the grievance redressal system is an absolute flawed one. And one can’t certainly argue that, there won’t be any sort of irregularities while implementing the promises in the bill, as under the tenure of UPA and congress, corruption is a regular course of action, somewhat similar to a staple food!! Speaking on the context of the country’s economy, even the Prime Minister this time was bound to open his mouth, agreeing to the fact that India’s economic scenario is facing a tough time.

Though the government says that, the bill will add up only 25,000 crore to the existing amount spent on country’s food security, however as per the calculations of some economists implementation of the bill would add up to Rs. 2,00,000 crore towards the country’s existing amount spent for food security, and not 25,000 crore. This will further add up to the country’s economic woes. How, just after passing of the bill the rupee has gone further down, is a clearly indication of how the bill might trigger the economy to tremble further in the days to come. Lastly, studies suggest that, the country lacks in an ample storage facility, and which might cause the stored food purchased under the Food Security Bill, to decay, that ought to create an artificial food scarcity in the country. The introspected facts, in a crystal clear manner discloses the government’s motives as taking shield of the bill and the poverty stricken Indians, the UPA is simply playing vote politics and securing its future for the 2014 polls.

Written by Shamim Zakaria >>

Shamim Parveez Zakaria is a journalist, writer, social activist and anti-corruption crusader. He is working as an active team member for 'STOP ACID ATTACKS', an organization working in the interest of the acid attack survivors.

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Indian Exponent: How the food security bill will add up to country’s woes
How the food security bill will add up to country’s woes
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