Out of curiosity, once I asked my mother how many kg of grains are required for a household? 20-25 kg she replied, depending upon the size of the family. The provisions of Food Security Bill reminded me of the reply. What is the Government thinking, I wonder. By providing 5-10 kg grains to a family how are they planning for food security?
The Food Security Bill aims to provide the subsidized wheat and rice to total 70 per cent of 1.2 billion people in India. According to UN Agency, India is home to 25 per cent of the world’s hungry poor. It is tough, actually impossible for me to imagine that a Bill that seeks to provide only 5 kg of rice or wheat can rid my country of malnutrition and hunger. This Bill seems to me a Titanic that is drafted to sink.
First of all, what is Government’s plan? More than the idea of providing relief to the poor they are banking upon the Bill to win the coming elections, keeping aside all the logics, it is planning to implement it.
There are three things that should be very clear. First is transportation, second is reaching to the beneficiaries and third is storage system. Our Railways don’t have enough capacity to carry the food grains and we don’t even have the storage facilities that needs to be created . According to an estimate, in the first year of implementation it will cost around 1.3 lakh crores. Mind you, this cost does not includes the set up that is required to carry out the operations, the peripheral costs that is.
Besides, as it will be centrally administered and the operations will be conducted by Food Corporation of India (FCI), then we need to understand here that it will buy wheat from the States and then it will be distributed. In India, Punjab, Haryana, MP and UP procure wheat while rice is confined to States like AP and Odisha. Hence, the food grains distribution challenge is as big as our titanic (food security bill, I mean).
Now comes the third and the biggest issue, ‘identification’ of the beneficiaries. How is the Government planning to identify them? BPL cards? C’mon how many people who die of hunger every year are BPL card holders, and how many times we need to be reminded again that all the BPL card holders are not beneficiaries? Here, we are talking about corruption at grass root level. No matter how many times Government claims that it is making the whole process transparent. We can’t believe that. Of course, it has given us enough reasons to not believe. Sorry Boss!! we can’t buy that. We know, it will open a floodgate of corruption. Again, the floodgate reminded me of the floods that will be sweeping away villages and people in coming monsoon, any plans to tackle with the problem. Of course, it doesn’t comes under the election agenda. So, how could you plan it ahead!
Blame me of being anti-UPA, but I am not. You can blame me for electing the Government, yes once I cast my vote in favor of this coalition Government, and I sincerely apologize. Oh my! in last four years every day the newspaper headlines reminded me that it was not a mistake, it was a sin.
Coming back to the Bill, what it aims for is totally genuine and we all want to eliminate hunger from our society. But, would not it be better if the Government could enable itself to implement the existing programmes and curb the corruption from top to bottom. We all will work together for it… some day we will surely make it happen. But this Bill…sorry to sound so negative, but it truly is a Titanic that will be crafted to sink, one of another ‘Sonianomic’ policy.
Image Source: IANS