Free rations an admission of the starvation facing the country: CPI(M)

‘This is the truth despite vociferous denial by the Modi government’

Updated - December 30, 2022 11:33 pm IST

Published - December 29, 2022 02:27 am IST - New Delhi

The party said the 81.35 crore people would be denied 5 kg of foodgrains at the subsidised rate.

The party said the 81.35 crore people would be denied 5 kg of foodgrains at the subsidised rate. | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

The Narendra Modi government’s latest announcement that it will provide free rations under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) is a clear admission of the starvation that our population is facing, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said in a statement here.

The party has demanded the continuation of both the free 5 kg foodgrain that the government started giving during the COVID-19 pandemic under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) and another 5 kg at subsidised rates under the NFSA.  

The statement was released after a two-day meeting of the Polit Bureau in Delhi on Wednesday.

The statement said, “The ‘free’ ration under the 2013 Food Security Act for nearly 2/3rds of our people for the year 2023 is an admission that the spectre of hunger stalking the country cannot be overcome otherwise. This is the truth despite the vociferous denial by the Modi government of the Global Hunger Index describing hunger in India as ‘very serious’.”  

Explaining the reason for its demands, the party said the 81.35 crore people would be denied 5 kg of foodgrains at the subsidised rate of ₹3 kg for rice, ₹2kg for wheat and ₹1 kg for coarse grains under the NFSA. “As a consequence, in order to make up for the 5 kg of subsidised foodgrains, essential to maintain nutritional levels, people will have to go to the open market where wheat is selling around ₹30+ / kg and rice at ₹40 +/ kg. This would be a cruel blow to crores of households struggling to survive.” 

The party also expressed concerns about the “deepening recessionary conditions” in the Indian economy. Importantly, the party flagged the government’s inability to augment the country’s productive capacities. “Industrial output contracted by a sharp 4% in October, the second time in 3 months. The year-on-year data shows a significant 5.4% drop in manufacturing output.” 

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