The main hurdles to the food security Bill, recently passed by Parliament, lie in the implementation, Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath has said.
Being able to maintain stable levels of agricultural production, addressing issues related to foodgrain storage and plugging leakages in the public distribution system (PDS) were big challenges, he emphasised at a seminar on ‘Food security in India – issues and suggestions for effectiveness’, at the University of Agricultural Sciences here on Saturday.
Reacting to criticism from various quarters, Mr. Ranganath said: “Money cannot be the prime concern when it comes to welfare.”
He compared the import tax subsidies on jewellery, which cost the public exchequer Rs. 57,000 crore, to the food security Bill of around Rs. 25,000 crore. While critics are quick to attack the latter, the former is not talked about as much, he argued.
“We cannot see the issue of hunger as the fate of the poor — that is neither in the interests of social justice nor sound policymaking.”
He also said the PDS needs a revamp. “To start with, commissions given to fair price shops are not adequate. This also needs a revaluation.”
Chairman of the Indian Institute of Public Administration S. Ramanathan spoke about the need to improve the Food Corporation of India.