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Updated: August 27, 2013 01:45 IST

Lok Sabha passes Food Security Bill

    Vinay Kumar
    Aarti Dhar
Comment (42)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi speaks in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
PTI/ TV grab
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi speaks in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Sonia terms Bill a fulfilment of her party’s promise to wipe out hunger and malnutrition

The Lok Sabha on Monday night passed the ambitious National Food Security Bill, 2013 that seeks to provide highly subsidised food grains to nearly 70 per cent of the population of the country.

Dubbed as a “game-changer,” the flagship measure of the UPA government will legally entitle 67 per cent of the population (including 75 per cent rural and 50 per cent urban) to get subsidised grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). A beneficiary will be entitled to 5 kg of rice, wheat or coarse cereals at Rs. 3, Rs. 2 and Re. 1 per kg a month, respectively. The beneficiaries will be identified by the States based on parameters prescribed by the Union government.

On a day when the historic legislation was being voted, Congress president Sonia Gandhi — who was the force behind the Bill and dubbed it an “empowerment revolution” — could not see the passage of the Bill as she took ill in the House late in the evening. She was rushed to the AIIMS after complaining of high fever. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of the House Sushil Kumar Shinde sat through the proceedings in the House.

The government had promulgated an Ordinance to this effect in July which had to be replaced by the Bill in the current monsoon session of Parliament to make it a law.

As the Lok Sabha sat till late in the night to deliberate on a number of amendments that were moved by several members after a six-hour long debate on the Bill, there were some anxious moments for the treasury benches when an amendment to Clause 8 of the Bill, moved by the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, created confusion and was believed to have gone through as the Speaker Meira Kumar announced the result of the division.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath suggested a revote on it to which Ms. Swaraj agreed, saving the government from embarrassment. Her amendment was negated as the result of the division showed 252 Ayes and 141 Nays with the total number being at 393.

The lengthy process of going through a volley of amendments to the Bill and subsequent division, demanded by many members, took more than three hours as the House sat till late on Monday night to complete the tedious legislative process.

In a speech in the Lok Sabha, Ms. Gandhi described the measure as a “big message” about India’s capability to take responsibility for the food security of all its citizens.

She said the Bill was a fulfilment of her party’s promise to “wipe out hunger and malnutrition.”

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Why 67% population, but according to Tendulkar Committee's methodology for 2012-13, percentage of people living below poverty line in the country has been estimated at 21.9 %. And world bank estimate 32% only.
I think Congress needs more vote to win the election.

from:  ashish
Posted on: Aug 29, 2013 at 18:36 IST

What is the need of such bill? I personally think that such bills or
policies make the person lazy. He will never know the taste of hardwork
or satisfaction from his own workdone. It is only a part of game which
is named as ELECTION.

from:  Madhu
Posted on: Aug 29, 2013 at 15:48 IST

This is the bill which will have adverse effect on the fininancial aspect of the country as a whole.Beneficieries are made no work force from the work force. it will reduce the productive capacity of the nation, as 67% of the work force will opt voluntarily as no work force. This benefits should not be in the form of charity it needs to assess the physical capacity of the person whether he or she can work. If capable of earning ,this facility should not be extended. Eventhough the objective is good the current government machinery full of corruption may make it worth less

Posted on: Aug 29, 2013 at 10:14 IST

Food security bill shal provide the poor with the toxic food grain stock , which shall
definitely make them sterile . This is not cure for hunger and malnutrition but poor
depopulation plan . All ministers should first eat this food for five years . They are
themselved living on organic food , and they expect to give food security to rest of
the nation , what a joke

from:  sunny sandhu
Posted on: Aug 29, 2013 at 01:02 IST

The bill is such a farce. Everyone knows the level of corruption that
has already infiltrated the PDS.

from:  sandeep mohan
Posted on: Aug 29, 2013 at 00:04 IST

By passing Food Security bill the Politicians have ensured that their
security is ensured. Seeing the PDS functioning I am sure that Rs.1.25
lac crore money earmarked would generate at least twice or thrice the
amount in Black money which the high and mighty would see that they go
into their pockets in a circuitous way.Sizeable chunk of Rs 3 Kilo
wheat or Rs. 2 Kilo wheat would come to the Open Market in the range
of Rs.20- to Rs.30- per Kg or more and unscrupulous elements would
mint money. I won't be surprised that the intelligent among the so
called beneficiaries would indulge in this. There would be scramble
for taking responsibility for distribution of the foodgrains earmarked
from the so called tearjerkers who are tirelessly working for the poor
and underprivileged. I feel the whole scheme would spell eceonomic
doom for the country. The Markets are already reacting to it. No
finance Minister including Kuber nevercan bridge the fiscal and
current account defecit.

from:  jagannathan
Posted on: Aug 28, 2013 at 18:26 IST

After 66 years of Independence India still need food security for 70%
of population...

With no answers to how govt is going to implement it, find out the
real needy people, how funds shall be generate, and as we already are
importing most of our food, this bill is going to be burden on each
one of us..

with so many loopholes in the system there is yet another huge
possibility for corruption

from:  Sachin Kulkarni
Posted on: Aug 28, 2013 at 15:28 IST

It's another election time gimmick. A blank cheque to our corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to squander the nation and betray the under prevliged. We have a bunch of politicians for whom personal agenda out weighs the national interest.

from:  Raghu
Posted on: Aug 28, 2013 at 05:17 IST

Humongous waste of Public money.
Pity that they are taking pride of declaring nearly 70% of the
country's population as BPL.
Passing of this bill surely will increase the BPL count, the tax
payers will find their money going down the g(d)rain.
Instead of building infrastructure to strengthen the PDS, the govt has
passed a bill hampers the functioning of more efficient PDS like in TN

from:  Raghu
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 18:16 IST

It took 66 years for congress to pass food security bill...they are the ruling party in majority of time...first they have lead lndia to such a crisis and now throwing free 'rotis'
In the whole term of UPA-2(2009-2013) everyone knows what they have done..obviously its a game changer when they were snatching food for past five years from poor people and now offering free food..

from:  Ranbir Singh
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 14:30 IST

This food security bill is another example why our country will go to stone age rather than new age and why we are far behind china and USA. This is ridiculous as its time to pass the employment bill and not food bill. Give people work and they will not be hungry, not food so that they become lazy and start committing crimes since their stomachs are full.
Shame !!!

from:  saurabh
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 14:26 IST

Kudos to Government.
Passing the bill is just 50% of party’s promise to “wipe out hunger and
Lets see otherside of the coin,%(How much?)in implementing this.

from:  Jyothsna
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 12:25 IST

"Bill was a fulfilment of her party’s promise " - The statement clearly
sends a message that Ms.Gandhi's job was done with passing the bill.
Efficient implementation of the bill is not her party's responsibility.
Remember : the promise was to pass the bill and not to implement the

from:  naren
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 11:14 IST

Food Security Bill is all right as it will help in wiping out
hunger and malnutrition from the country, as was asserted by Mrs Sonia
Gandhi. However, a few questions need to be answered by the Congress
Party who has been in power for most part since independence. Why is
it that almost 2/3rd population of the country is still poor when
billions of rupees have been spent on development and employment
schemes and after so many five year plans? Are we to believe that those
schemes were ill conceived and faulty? And why even after the Congress
Party made so much hue and cry in 1970s about elimination of poverty,
the "Garibi Hatao" era, the country is one of the poorest in the world?
The second issue is the so called empowerment revolution which the
Congress Party has 'facilitated'. Empowerment of whom? If you give
someone alms you don't say that you are empowering him - you are just
trying to wash off your sins. And the person receiving alms doesn't
become empowered and can be seen at the same spot the very next day(
And that is what this Bill will do to poor Indians). But if you enable
him to earn his living through his own efforts, and buy food, you have
really empowered him - he will be a person with greater self respect
and will contribute positively in nation building. I have no qualms in
saying that political parties have contrived to keep this country poor
so that they can perpetuate misrule without being accountable to
anyone. Even after so many years of independence we have numerous
cases of oppression of the people on the fringes of society, crime
against women have become frequent and routine, tribal people are
being exploited in the name of development, farmers have been
committing suicide, millions are forced to live in inhuman conditions
in slums, and even larger number can be seen on footpaths and railway
platforms, hundreds are dying of hunger and no one seems to bother. Is
it empowerment? Is the government trying to say that Food Security Bill
will enable homeless and hungry to buy food? Is food the only need for
a respectable, meaningful and fulfilling existence? Are we animals that
we only have physiological needs? Last but not the least is the
economics of Food Security Bill. The government has to meet the gap
between MSP that it will pay to the farmers and the price at which
these food- grains will be made available under the scheme, among other
things. Given the track record of government in implementation of
welfare schemes - Jawahar Rojgar Yojna, MNAREGA, Aganwadis, Midday
Meal etc and the scams that are part and parcel of such schemes, I have
my doubts that the benefit of the scheme will go to genuine persons.

from:  Bhupal Singh
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 10:44 IST

Whatever decision comes should have interest of all citizens

from:  Sachin
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 10:06 IST

"Bill was a fulfilment of her party’s promise " - The statement clearly
sends a message that Ms.Gandhi's job was done with passing the bill.
Efficient implementation of the bill is not her party's responsibility.
Remember : the promise was to pass the bill and not to implement the

from:  naren
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 10:01 IST

Its a Bill of Making Present Agriculture of India to Handicapped Agriculture of India.

from:  sanjeev kumar
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 09:59 IST

If the aim is to "wipe out hunger and poverty" in India, then what is the target set for it by the government? Is it not important to have a target?

from:  Nikhil Bhat
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 09:49 IST

I hope the food security bill doesn't make part of the population unproductive. Many urban poor designated under BPL are not poor. They are better off, works hard for their living. To woo such people for votes would make India poor in the long run. I wish the food security bill is better implemented and really the deserving people are benefited.

from:  Venkatesh Kalla
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 08:46 IST

Good job! lets not sit relax and enjoy a drink!!
As we all know we have plenty of act and laws that were supposed to help "aam aadmi". However many many many of schemes are very poorly implemented. Lets ensure that the act is in action until the last mile before claiming anything!

from:  sriram
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 08:39 IST

Why do people object to the food security bill.If the cost of food per days is the matter then they are right but if they are objecting to the bill for their vested interest of politics then people should answer them by their vote.Do we not want poorest of the poor people to have food. Is it not our social responsibility to feed them when they can not even afford their very basic means of living.

from:  Hardev Singh
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 08:23 IST

What a drama being played ! Subsidize all expenses of so called poor? Many
are much above BPL norms and yet continue to get benefits, thanks to bad
system of definition and determination. Give best access to education and
skills to make a decent living standing on own legs - that would make them
confident and self dependent - this type of schemes will promote laziness
and lot of money will get wasted, partly through cover up publicity by
Govt officials operating scheme, partly by Party Bosses of rural areas !
Better to concentrate on economic uplift rather than freebies concessions!

from:  Radhai ram
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 07:53 IST

I don't think this is a right time to launch such costly scheme, when rupee is heading down against dollar.

from:  Pankaj
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 07:49 IST

Mrs Gandhi can take a sigh of relief now since her ambitious bill has
been passed after such a furore, as described as a game changer by the
congress , this law will have to stand the test of time after
implementation. As most of the academicians and economists have
conveyed their reservations of the bill in the wake of the rising
concern of fiscal imbalance, this bill envisages to eradicate hunger
from the country and no one can doubt on that. However the rationale
behind the stiff opposition is the resources to meet this
target,especially when govt has ventured into cutting down subsidy and
deregulating crude oil to keep the fiscal balance intact. How govt
plans to keep the balance is not the only point though, others are the
procurement of huge amount of grain, storage and disseminating it the
right beneficiary. Until these concerns are addressed it will be
premature to jump on to any conclusion but one thing is for certain
that congress hopes to get more votes does depend on it.

from:  neeraj bhatt
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 07:47 IST

If we put aside the politics in this bill otherwise this is the dream step taken by the government of India to iradicate hunger and malnutrition, so we must welcome this step and should support the government for effective implementation of this food security bill

from:  Sachin G. Vyapari
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 07:31 IST

Feeling proud that lok sabha passed this bill. Kudos to govt.

from:  Vignesh K
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 07:28 IST

All this are noncence as govt making rural people lezy only. I govt want to improve peoples fooding then it is possible to give them direct subsidies on form of money by adhar no.... here in rural it is hard to find Labour's for cultivation if their will no grain produced then soon it their will no grain to distribute.........!!!!

from:  Soumya
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 07:25 IST

food security bill passed by the parliament is a good step but legally to give food to 67% population of India is a matter of concern because most of the people will not work being secured for food.They will be babas(sadhu) of five family member each.

from:  jagat singh panwar
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 07:15 IST

Good. Now India will become a nation of people who are unemployed,
uneducated and only produce more children.

from:  Gautam
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 06:35 IST

Like the RTI bill being not applicable to defence ministry to perpetuate corruption, food security bill is also like this!Only people pastering and sustained by these cirrupt leaders would have access to food under food security bill.Rest is VOTE!

from:  atis
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 06:26 IST

Every one in this country who is physically normal and fit must be
made to work to earn his/her living. If you give anything for free, it
will lose its own value and it will not add any value to the society
either. There are plenty of fertile lands spread out through out the
country which are just lying idle. All the state governments can
identify such lands which no body owns or uses and lease it out to
poor people freely and provide the Infrastructure, training and raw
materials needed for cultivating. The output can be shared between the
Poor people and the government. This will ensure that such people are
made to grow their own food and shelter (basic living) rather than
they migrating to cities and landing up as beggars. By giving anything
free, the government are making more beggars rather than uplifting the
social status of the people. They can also grow many trees and
greenery across the country so that nature will bring in more rains
and in turn improving the agriculture yield

from:  Varadan Swamy
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 06:08 IST

Another route to loot the country and massive corruption, with the
intended beneficiaries being the ultimate losers. We already have a
public distribution system which is corruption ridden and wastage prone.
Instead of correcting the existing system they impose another burden on
the already indebted nation. These people have to answer to the future
generations for their misdeeds and theft of nation's wealth.

from:  Suvojit Dutta
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 06:00 IST

Food security is indeed the primary basic need of the citizens of this country. The skeptics talk of deficit in food production. When the country can import crude oil to meet the needs of fuel it can as well import food grains in the event of any deficit which is unlikely if the agricultural productivity is improved to be at par with global standards. It is indeed a landmark legislation the success of which would now depend on plugging leakages in administrating the distribution of food grains through the system identifying correctly the intended beneficiaries and also maintaining quality standards of the food grains earmarked for public distribution.

Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 05:50 IST

I congratulate all the members of Lok Sabha, for passing the bill, eschewing the difference of views on many issues. it shows, that every one is concerned about the poor. I wish both Government and opposition party stand together and pass other important bills with proper discussions and to show to the world that we will be united in Nation building.

from:  G.Ramachandran
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 05:47 IST

The Food Security Bill has been passed in the Parliament as earlier
ordinance was issued in regard to the Food Security Bill . As the
U.P.A. is cheered with the passing of this bill because it was there
dream to get the bill passed in the Parliament .As in future Will the
Food Security Bill succeed the Congress in transferring the votes
towards itself to make a come back or the Bill will prove a
Politically motivated to woo the Voters . As the Opposition Party
B.J.P. has earlier focused there point of view that it is a poll
Politically motivated . How much Population will be benefited time
will tell ?

Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 05:44 IST

Next wait for election announcement. Making people lazy and to fill politician's pockets.

from:  Sathish
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 04:25 IST

I am not against the concept of Food Security Bill, but the real
question is can we afford that? Do we have resources and efficient
mechanism – I don’t think so. The burden on the exchequer is projected
at a whopping Rs. 1.3 Lakhs crores per year. The increase in subsidy
burden will only add to the current fiscal account deficit. Certainly
this is not the right time to initiate that,unfortunately UPA is only
concerned about elections not economy.

from:  Ashwini Labh
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 03:02 IST

There are more pressing matters such as national security, incursions, scams etc etc. The country is in a financial crisis and the government wants to give free food.
The present governmment is following a system where the rulers have unlimited control which is absolutism.

from:  Anjaneyulu
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 00:48 IST

Another bill just for votes. When the economy is on the verge of
cracking, there is no need for this food security bill. This country is
doomed. Laws and bills are made for politician satisfaction and power.
This bill will only fill the pockets of middlemen and politicians. But
can't expect much.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 00:39 IST

Poverty and Nutrition are the core issues in development.The Bill will
promote food security and We could see it as our duty/social
responsibility towards the marginalized at a time Indian economy has
already demonstrated growth potential/performance.

from:  Mathews
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 00:33 IST

The point IS-
The UPA government passed it or enforce several measures and efforts when the elections were near.
Is that a move to increase vote bank?
Why did they waited for 4 years?

from:  Akash Jain
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 00:15 IST

This is a step forward for alleviating hunger and poverty in our
country. Lets hope for the best that it will be a successful project
and more inclusive. The Govt. has to bring PDS reforms and remove
apprehensions of various states. Hope Malnutrition will be removed
through this. I dream of a nation where no child goes to sleep with a
hungry stomach.

from:  Renny Johnson
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 23:43 IST
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