A welcome move by GOI to approve the Food Security Bill in cabinet after a long pause and much deliberation among the Ministers. Yes, it definitely shows some concern because at a time it was felt the entire draft would be rejected on grounds of 'financial deficit' and non-availability of 'Food Grains' for the 'Aam-Poor' who are malnourished and relying under severe pressure of high food inflation. Just showing mere concern would not be enough at the stage where we are developing at larger pace and also divide of rich and poor has widen.
But as a concern citizen and activist fighting for 'Food Right for all' aren't satisfied by the entire Bill. The key is our Vision to Food Security Bill which should clearly state 'No person shall sleep Hungry' and 'No to Nutrition deficit' The vision set by new draft lacks this commitment that we want to see India a 'Hunger Free State' in 2020.The draft Bill has backed off from its original recommendation to give entitlements to 75% of its population and cover-up 90% rural India.
The other matter was identifying the beneficiary to food which makes the task more difficult as 'Priority' and 'General' and the exclusion of any single person can deny one 'Right to Live'. The NAC draft of 23rd Oct 2010 recommended the idea of 'Near Universalization' and the new draft seems half heartedly conceived notion.
The other grey area of draft is 'Food Allowance' where by non-supply of food grains or meals to entitled person, the concerned State would be required to provide, here we see the entry tothe corporate interests and private contractors in food production, distribution and governance. The draft Bill fails to include the nutritional value of entitlements which was our core demand to introduce pulses and oil which is key to nutritional security.
The draft fails to highlight what mechanism the centre and state will adopt to implement the Food Security Bill. The new draft Bill has focused on "leveraging 'Aadhaar' for unique identification" and "introducing schemes such as cash transfer, food coupons, or other schemes.
The introduction of cash transfer must be seen as abdication of Govt. responsibility to serve its people as enshrined in our constitution and also the UID (Aadhaar) which has being under severe question of its failure and doubts on various blocks.
We therefore request to GOI to consider and adopt above vision and suggestion of going Universalization of Food Security which in turn will make our people to alleviate them from hunger and poverty and will lead a real dignified life.
Soheb Lokhandwala Contact: - email@example.com