Blog on Indian Economics, Personal Views and Interests

Food… err… Vote Security Bill – pay now, reap later

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Congress’ plan to hatch the egg before elections is questionable. Everyone sees this as an opportunity to garner votes ahead of the crucial 2014 elections. Even more so since there is a NaMo mania creeping the countrymen and women.

As I set my eyes on horizon for the next year elections, there are two things which are very clear.

  1. BJP does not have the strength of its own to stand guard at National Parliament as things are at present.
  2. Congress’ coalition politics still can work

Food Security Bill would not have been needed if the existing bills worked the way they were supposed to work. The middle men are the largest beneficiaries – as things turned out with Ration and other schemes.

As Sharad Yadav puts, “The beneficiaries of the schemes hardly get any benefits because of the middlemen and rampant corruption. It is hunger and dignity that affect the poor the most in the country”

He is right. And that coming from a politician is a welcome change. Only if they worked towards it…

The beneficiaries never get the benefit they were supposed to get. For Mango Man, there seems to be no respite. The only hope is – they get what they are deserving off.

Sonia Gandhi called it a chance for India to make history. She clearly wants the bill to be passed, as does everyone from Congress. The bill is aimed to provide cheap and better access to food to nearly 70 per cent of India’s population at the cost of Rs. 1.25 Lakh Crores, and it is Congress’ major bid to win next year’s General elections.

The question is not, and should not be why now? Better late than never, I say. But it should be HOW? How is this Bill going to work when previous bills did not? The Bill being tabled does not fully meet the nutritional requirement, and does not help farmers. Farmers may be even forced to sell some portion of their produce at fixed (lower) rates that will be fed through the system.

Nothing for Food Wastage?

And what about wastage of food? Food and Processing Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday shared with the Parliament that the value of annual wastage of fruits and vegetables was estimated at Rs. 13,309 crore. However, if the wastage value of rice, wheat, cereals and others are taken into account, it would go up to Rs. 44,000 crore a year. He was taking a pot shot at the Congress’ proposed Food Security Bill, but he was the Minister for Agriculture, now holding the seat of Food and Processing Minister?

Remember: These figures are embezzled from Tax Payer’s money.

What a shame that is! You cannot store food grains, fruits and vegetables worth Rs. 44,000 Crore then why buy it at first place? We work hard to earn money, and pay Taxes. And from this very Tax money, you buy these food grains, fruits and vegetables only to waste it?

So in essence, the government is trying to float a bill worth 1.25 Lakh Crores, while doing nothing about the Rs. 44,000 Crore worth of Food Wastage every year?

1 Comment
  1. Siddharth Ghoshal says

    The part about Food wastage is something I have been dwelling on too for quite sometime in my discussions. This is another election gimmick that is done to get voters in more than anything else. A Shame!!

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