That food security has to be ensured to all Indians is undeniable. Only the nuts and bolts of the Bill is what is coming under fire. The government has to fine-tune the delivery apparatus by being open to accepting and implementing ideas and suggestions.
Much of the criticism over the National Food Security Bill has failed to identify the human development aspect as part of the big picture. Even if this is neglected, those with capitalist inclinations should not ignore the fact that it is only a well-nourished population that will only increase overall productivity.
Indian agriculture is largely subsistence-based. Therefore, why would such farmers practise agriculture when they are guaranteed foodgrains at low cost? Instead of providing foodgrains, the government must find the means to empower people — “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
I do not see anything wrong if the government spends Rs.1.25 lakh crore a year to feed poor Indians. The West spends huge amounts on public welfare related to agriculture and nutrition and their economies are still healthy. Therefore, saying that the expenditure on implementing the Food Security Bill will lead to an unhealthy economic status of our country is unjustified, as many letter writers seem to think. What we must be more concerned about is whether the Bill will be implemented in letter and in spirit so that the targeted population gets its due.
Rajkamal S. Mann,
While there is cynicism in the market with regard to the government’s actions, the capitalists need to understand that it is the responsibility of every government to care about its citizens and not just oil the wheels of the corporate profit machine. In India, there seems to be a poverty of ideas among its billionaires.
The letter writer (Aug.29) who quoted Mahakavi Subramania Bharati seems to have missed the richness of what he said. With his “Thani manithan oruvanakku unavaillai yenil jagathanai azhithiduvoyum,” the poet meant that “if there is no food for even one human being, let’s plough the entire world and flood it with food.” He expressed this desire after experiencing rage at seeing poverty.
Though the editorial (Aug. 29) rightly highlighted the corporate lobby’s bias against the government’s welfare measures, its fears over the whooping food subsidy bill having some adverse impact on our economy in conjunction with the falling rupee cannot be brushed aside. With our economy facing problems, schemes impacting further budgetary deficits are bound to make a dent.