Food security bill, 2013 is surely electoral security 2014
UPA 2 seems to be more interested in ensuring its electoral security in 2014 rather than the food security for teeming millions of hungry and malnourished people. Due to the series of scams, rampant corruption, galloping inflation, falling economy and lowest ever growth rate in last two decades and a failed leadership of prime minister Manmohan Singh, Food Security Bill appears to be the last resort for the Congress, to acquire some legitimacy before going to Parliament Elections in 2014.
Food security bill, 2013 is surely electoral security 2014. UPA II is hurry to rub the scheme on the head of poor without passing through Indian Parliament by an ordinance. It is obscene that the government doesn’t want to allow proper discussion on the Food Security Bill in Parliament though the basic elements of the Bill have been in discussion for four years since UPA 1.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Bill is that it’s not aimed at eradicating hunger rather aimed at encasing hunger.
Secondly, this is not a Bill that I believe is either adequate or desirable. It has serious flaws. It sticks to heavy targeting, which is undesirable. The proportion of the population to be covered is based on a flawed notion of income.
Then, targeting in general tends to have very strong errors. It has unfair exclusion and unjustified inclusion. Targeting will also increase costs. Too much will need to be spent on surveys to figure out who is entitled and who is not. What if income level falls for a family due to a death of the breadwinner or some other reason? I might take six years before a survey reclassifies that family as poor.
My biggest worry is the Bill doesn’t link agriculture with hunger, which means, it is going to be destructive for both agriculture and farmers in the days to come.
The Bill has a window opening for cash transfer. It means, let’s say I live in a village. I will get a food coupon. I can go anywhere and...