OPINION: Food Security Act: A Disaster in the Making
The current UPA government wants to make another scheme for the so called poor people, which is in the form of Food Security Act. This act UPA government is planning to present in upcoming budget session in the parliament.
It’s a very ambitious call by the UPA chairman, Sonia Gandhi. But regarding this new act, I have a strong doubt on their vision, mission, objectives and goals.
The Food Security Act is a unique act which will work as the cash cow for the government and its allies in power. The UPA government wants to allocate a whopping Rs. 300000 crores in the budget for this act; one can only wonder where will this huge amount of money will go.
Further, the UPA government wants the poor to be able to have wheat at Rs. 2 per kilogram and rice at Rs. 3 per kilogram. There is no emphasis on the poor people’s nutrition need. Simply providing them with wheat and rice does not mean that a poor person will get a nutritious diet.
I believe government should provide the poor with “Nutrition Security” not the security of wheat and rice only.
Nutritions contains balance amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat etc, by providing items likes pulses, vegetables etc., which is simply missing in the Food Security Act. So one can easily guess the intention behind this act. The intention is only to enrich the politicians, bureaucrats and such by the public money.
On the first look, according to prevailing conditions and present corruption level one can only laugh at this intention. If government take this practically and honestly to provide nutrition security, then it will find it impossible to have adequate funds to implement the nutrition security.
Some time ago I had read an interview by one of the member of the National Advisory Council in the Times of India newspaper; this gentleman was speaking regarding social schemes formulated by the UPA government, his answer had shocked me a lot. He had said, “Government don’t want to spent any money on the audit of the poverty allocation and social programs, even the government is unwilling to spent even a single crore to audit and control the schemes which employs massive amount of money and infrasture like MNREGA.”
So that’s the real face of the government which wants to allocate lakhs of crores to the new schemes like Food Security Act and not want to allocate any resource to audit,control and manage it. So we all have to ask the government what is this amount of money which will be set aside to manage and audit the new cash generation scheme which politicians call Food Security Act.
I am almost sure the UPA goverment will not set aside a singe penny to manage this Rs. 300000 crore scheme. One can wonder what will happen to the Food Security Act. I believe the entire food meant for the poor will be diverted towards the black-market. The black marketers are delighted by this Food Security Act and lobbying greatly for this Food Security Act.
So one can wonder who is pushing this act aggressively in the name of the poor. The government want this act to be implemented by the way of Public Distribution System (PDS), which itself is faulty and does not serve its purpose; nowadays it is finished and does not exist.
So we all can guess for whom this food security act is meant for. It is meant for banks accounts in tax heavens like Switzerland, the Cayman Islands etc of politicians.
As revealed by the recent 2G spectrum scam, the average commission a politician takes for implementing any scheme vary from 15% to 35%. So a scam bigger than the 2G spectrum is likely in the making. It means around 1 lakhs crore of the amount of the food security act is meant for the politicians Swiss bank accounts and the rest for the babus and officers will take, and in the end, the poor Indian will get…, yes my dear friends you are right, will get nothing.
So the real beneficiaries of the food security act is not the poor but the greedy politicians and their Swiss bank accounts.
The solution to this is to give direct cash transfer into the hands of the poor. This can only be possible if the drive to connect the poor with the banking system will be taken aggressively and to completely dissolve and abolish the PDS system, which in today’s time doesn’t have any meaning and has no use.
The solution to problem of hunger is not to bring the Food Security Act; however, it is to empower the poor and make them self-dependent.
Currently, our production rate per hectare is very low, the same hectare of the land produces six times more wheat in Australia as compared to India. So we need to work upon this and have to find new ways to increase the productivity of the agriculture sector.
[Naveen Kumar Sharma is a postgraduate student in the Department of Commerce and Business Studies. He can be reached via email at: neo.abm[at]gmail.com]
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Naveen K. SharmaNaveen Kumar Sharma is a postgraduate student in the Department of Commerce and Business Studies. He can be reached via email at: email@example.com
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