By Shaifali Agrawal:
The implementation of the ambitious National Food Security Bill, 2013 by the Government of India makes me contemplate on how far can selfish motives be implemented against the whole country, that too in a disguise of it being a saviour. The Bill will legally entitle 67% of the population (i.e 82 crore people, 75 percent rural and 50 percent urban) of India to get subsidised grains.
Is it a vote-mongering activity since elections are due next year? It has been called as a “vote security” bill by some. Even the opposition party BJP did not ask for any amendments or withdrawal of its implementation in a parliament session held a few days back, because that would make them look like they go against the poor.
Why isn’t government providing people with jobs, which would make people start to appreciate the work of sweat, instead of enjoying the food at negligible prices and spending the rest of the money on liquor. Even the government would benefit from the power of the working hand if it provides such a large population with employment, instead of spending some 25,000 crore on food distribution across the country. It would be a win-win situation.
This huge sum of money could and should be used for the actual benefits of the people that would strengthen the democracy, or India’s economic position in the world. Like in health sector, providing people with new and good hospitals in which an average hospital would employ a minimum of forty people consisting of doctors, nurses, janitor, watchmen, etc. who would then be self sufficient to buy food grains at normal prices. In the education sector, with building new schools and providing financial backup for education to poor families. In the Sports sector with introducing coaching of different sports in the country apart from cricket which would, in twenty years’ time, give rise to people bagging laurels at national level, maybe. And if the Government does not want to do anything, it would be advisable to let the money sit in the stocks of Reserve Bank of India to be used in moments of crisis like now, when the value of rupee has been very unstable; and if even that is not required, why don’t they just decrease the amount of taxes, or nay, just stop introducing new ones.
Moreover, for how long can the Government implement this scheme? For how many subsequent years would the country be in a position to spend around 1.27 lakh crore every year (Also, it might not be in the interest of the UPA government to continue the scheme any more after the first few months of its selection as the ruling party)?. But if comparative resources are used to make people self sufficient by providing them with well-paying jobs, it would help eradicate poverty. Moreover, the loans taken for generating employment would reap benefits and the money spent in it would be paid back after a few years, it would also undoubtedly start reaping profits after a while if the money, man power, and resources are diligently and un-corrupt-edly used; which would definitely not be the case with the Food Bill which has no long-term benefits (but oh! Five years is a good enough time).