Food Security Bill Thread

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by anoop_mig25, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Cong states join protests on Food Bill

    Posted: Mon Nov 21 2011 New Delhi:

    Cutting across party lines, most state governments have objected to the National Food Security Bill proposed by the Centre, which is likely to be tabled in the Winter Session of Parliament.
    Their objections range from seeking powers to decide on criteria that would make a person eligible as a beneficiary under the proposed law “so as not to encourage the existence of vagabonds”, to asking the Centre to bear the entire cost of implementation of the scheme, and seeking an “unambiguous” definition of the term starvation.

    In their responses to the Centre on the proposed law, which the UPA-II government hopes to make a flagship programme similar to UPA-I’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), most of the states have expressed strong views against the present format of the Bill.

    * For instance, Congress-ruled Rajasthan wants removal of the clause empowering the central government to conduct social audit of the implementation of the public distribution system (PDS) and functioning of ration shops.

    * Another Congress-ruled state, Maharashtra, has opposed the idea of having Food Commissions at the national and state levels to monitor the implementation of the proposed law.

    “Setting up of State and National Food Security Commissions parallel with the existing arrangements — such as State Human Right Commission, State Consumer Redressal Commission, State Commissions for SC/ST, Minorities and Women — will only lead to expansion of bureaucracy and duplication of functions of existing institutions,” it has said.

    Maharashtra has also red-flagged provisions in the proposed Act which empower the proposed State Commission to issue guidelines to state governments regarding the implementation of the scheme.

    * Echoing the objection, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh government has also “strongly objected to the creation of such a commission” as it will “only add to the existing bureaucracy” and render the department meant for this job “superfluous”.

    * In an important suggestion, the Bihar government wants an “independent body” — an Identification Commission on the lines of the Election Commission — to undertake the process of identification and listing of beneficiaries in order to ensure transparency.

    In fact, Bihar has raised the most objections, ranging from “inadequate attention to meeting the nutritional requirements of the poor based upon scientific parameters” to putting additional financial burden on the states without “making adequate financial provisions”.

    The Nitish Kumar government has also told the Centre that it would “prefer” a system of cash transfers to the time consuming, cost-intensive PDS reform since it would mean less leakages and minimum implementation cost.

    * On the other hand, the Left Front government in Tripura has “strongly opposed” the cash transfer option. “Supply of foodgrain is to be ensured by the Government of India to the states which are deficit in food production,” it has said.

    * The BJP government in Chhattisgarh has suggested that the National Food Commission should be empowered to hear the complaints by state governments and pass appropriate recommendations to the Centre.

    However, the Centre has said that “subordinate statutory bodies created by an Act of Parliament cannot be conferred such powers. They cannot have functions to direct a sovereign government that created it.”

    Chhattisgarh has also suggested that the Centre should allow the state governments to use the services of the State Food Security Commissions for monitoring the implementation of other welfare schemes in the state.

    * Punjab has asked the Centre to share the cost of transporting the foodgrain to the ration shops.

    * In West Bengal, the Mamata Bannerjee-led government has suggested that the “restriction” of six months of free meals to persons living in starvation should be dropped. In this context, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh governments have sought an unambiguous definition of what should be construed as starvation.

    The special provisions proposed in the food security law specifically for persons living in starvation, homeless and destitute has attracted the attention of almost all the 18 state governments whose responses have been compiled in the Cabinet note.

    Most states have asked the Centre to refrain from interfering in matters like qualifications, methods and terms of appointments of district-level grievance redressal officers.

    * Manipur is the only state that has agreed “in toto” to the draft National Food Security Bill, while Congress-led Kerala government has favoured adoption of the Sonia Gandhi-led NAC’s proposals “in toto”.

    “We will place the views of the states along with our comments before the Cabinet. It is for the Cabinet to take a final view on the issue,” said a senior officer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2011
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    What a chaos that is gripping India.

    There is no doubt that the new ideas are very good in content and intent.

    But most are merely cosmetic and populist to project the 'love for the Am Admi' and consequently votes so that they can continue to warm the seat that they occupy to govern!

    I am remind of Nero who fiddled!

    It is very dangerous to pander to populism without thought and going through the viability of such scheme to sustain itself and the country's economy and growth!

    God Help Hindustan.
     
    Kunal Biswas and parijataka like this.
  4. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Another ill thought of and ill conceived bill rammed by Sonia G's pets in NAC. Where the Govt. will get the money for this is the million dollar question.

    Doles of this sort are mainly responsible for the current financial situation amongst the PiGS countries.
     
  5. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    This is going to be another major contributor to Rahulflation.

    Not inflation, Rahulflation. Rahulflation is a name given to inflation caused by Congress' populist policies aimed at cementing the vote base of Rahul Gandhi so that he becomes the PM in 2014.
     
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  6. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    the point is would congrees high command would listene to their state level leaders or this leaders would be Silenced/sidelined by sonia and co..
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    They are merely wanting it to be debated and some problems thrown in during the Parliament session and then the issue put into cold storage like every other important issue plaguing the country.

    After all, one can subsist on Rs 36 as per the Govt and Montek!

    I don't care who is in power. All one wants is some sense in governance and working really for the country rather than pandering to populism that adds to the never ending and always increase woes for the people and the country!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  8. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Sonia's Food Security Bill on the backburner


    New Delhi: UPA President Sonia Gandhi's pet project, the Food Security Bill, didn't get a cabinet nod on Tuesday. As the Industrial output is down, manufacturing is down and rupee consistently depreciating the government is attempting to put an extra burden of almost Rs 1 lakh crore on itself by bringing in the Food Security Bill.

    The bill was put up before the cabinet just a couple of months before important assembly polls in states of Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh yet it ended up being deferred, primarily because of reservations expressed by Sharad Pawar.

    At the meet Pawar argued that if there is a famine, from where one will get food to support the hungry. Financial viability of this bill amidst weakening rupee also needs to be examined continuing pilferage of Public Distribution Sysytem also needs to be looked at closely.

    Even Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said that the bill was against spirit of NAC recommendations.

    Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution KV Thomas said, "The bill proposes to make right to food a legal right."

    The bill proposes subsidised food grain and guarantees rice at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg and millet at Rs 1 per kg. For priority households, it is Rs 7 kg per person or Rs 35 kg per household and for non-priority it is Rs 3 kg per person. Bill seeks to cover 63.5 per cent of the total population.

    The bill will cover 75 per cent of rural population and 50 per cent of urban area population.

    The bill provides benefits for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children up to 14 years. Pregnant mothers will also get cash entitlements and the bill has provision for cash transfers.

    But there are several loopholes in the existing bill as well. For instance, the proposal is silent on identifying priority and general groups for whom this bill is meant. No time frame has been set for determining the target groups, Socio economic and caste census data is awaited for 2011, which is way behind schedule. And there is no coordination mechanism between states and centre as yet.

    The proposal also does not specify is investments required for augmenting storage, freight capacity given that the railways are already stretched.

    Now, the bill will come up at the next cabinet meet but it’s not clear whether it will get passed.
     
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Conceptually it is a marvellous bill. The need of the hour!

    However, there is no sincerity in its formulation.

    Another populist measure that goes nowhere, excepting a hope that it will fill the ballot box.

    Who are the poor?

    The Rs 32 below folks?

    What is the infrastructure to implement it honestly or will it be another fraud like the NREGA where politics and graft ruins the goodness of thought that propelled the Act.
     
  10. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    Government has no money to implement all this crap formulated by the NAC
     
  11. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Food security: Easy to feed poor, but not Gandhi family


    The Union cabinet is said to have deferred consideration of the contentious Food Security Bill (FSB) because several senior ministers – Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, among them – have questioned its viability.

    Just as well. The problem is not that the poor do not deserve food security, but a harebrained scheme is not going to deliver it. The FSB, as currently conceived, is a messy compromise between what Sonia Gandhi’s NGO mob wants and what the government thinks its finances can afford.

    Net result: the FSB captures the worst of both worlds. It will neither guarantee food security nor help the government keep its finances in some shape in a year the world is going downhill.

    In fact, we shouldn’t call it the Food Security Bill, but Sonia and Rahul’s Political Insecurity Bill. FSB is meant to secure the political fortunes of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, never mind the cost. Feeding the poor is only incidental to its aims.


    We shouldn't call it the Food Security Bill, but the Gandhi family's Political Insecurity Bill. Reuters

    To satisfy the National Advisory Council crowd, the FSB seeks to cover 75 percent of rural households and 50 percent of urban ones. To satisfy the budget’s minders, it seeks to create two categories of subsidies – very high subsidies for the ultra poor (“Priority households”), and moderate subsidies for the rest (“general households”). The cost of FSB will be Rs 1,00,000 crore in subsidies - and this could be an underestimate.

    Priority households will get 35 kg of coarse grains, or wheat or rice at the 1-2-3 price: coarse grains at Re 1 a kg, wheat at Rs 2 and rice at Rs 3. The non-priority beneficiaries will get the same at half the minimum support price of these grains.

    The problem with 1-2-3 is that it is not as simple as A-B-C. The scheme will fail not only because it is too expensive, but because it is simply unworkable due to its complexity.

    As Pratap Bhanu Mehta argues in his Indian Express column, “the more a scheme relies on complex targeting, the more likely it is to fail.”

    Mehta says that the FSB “creates Orwellian categories like priority households and general category households. And it introduces new forms of differential pricing. In short, it willfully incorporates into its design three features that have made schemes in the past a failure: impractical targeting categories, administrative complexity, and incentives to game.”

    In Mehta’s view, the scheme should be universalised to give it a chance of success, but his objections do not go far enough.

    The more fundamental objection one should have to the FSB is to ask where it fits into the overall scheme of social safety nets for the poor. Currently, we have scores of them, all of them implemented poorly. The two most important ones are universal – the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA, for short), and the mid-day meals scheme for school children. Then, of course, we have the current public distribution system.

    Here are the questions to ask:

    • Is food security about delivering subsidised grain to the poor or creating income opportunities for them and improving the public distribution system (PDS)? If we do the latter, we don’t need FSB to ensure food security.

    • Is the physical delivery of grain more important than putting cash and choice in the hands of beneficiaries? Isn’t it simpler to focus on improving agricultural productivity, and let people buy what they want at reasonable prices?

    • If one aim of the FSB is to deliver nutritious food to pregnant mothers and early-age children, should this not be integrated with the mid-day meal and anganwadi schemes – where cooked food is the goal? Should one create yet another system for pregnant mothers?

    • Most important, why is it necessary to insure both income and food for the poor when one may do the job better? Should NREGA be streamlined and made more universal to generate year-round incomes, and perhaps include a dole, too, to become the prime safety net for the poor? There would be no need for FSB then.

    • Is it sensible to proliferate schemes with similar objectives when we can improve existing ones to improve their efficiencies? If more than 40 percent of the PDS grain is pilfered or gets into the wrong hands, shouldn’t we be fixing this instead of starting yet another PDS under the name of FSB?

    Sharad Pawar’s objections to FSB – that the scheme will drive up global food prices in case we need to import, that it will ultimately affect the interests of farmers, and that the subsidy scheme is fiscally unviable – are valid, but can be overcome with some planning.

    But the ultimate truth is this: no government has the capability to manage so many complex schemes intelligently and efficiently.

    It is a myth that organisations can target multiple objectives successfully. Just as most individuals can manage at best one or two tasks well at the same time, government can also manage only one or two things simultaneously.

    The UPA government has thrown caution to the winds and is trying to do too many things without thinking about their implications and implementation. Just look at the initiative overload it has convinced itself about: after NREGA, it has legislated the Right to Education, and now is planning the Food Security Bill and universalsing health care. It is also planning to legislate tougher land acquisition and mining bills – both of which will take a huge amount of executive time – not to speak of a New Manufacturing Policy.

    Quite clearly, the driving force behind all these initiatives is the political interest of the First Family – not national interest or the interests of the poor.

    Proof: you cannot have long-term food security without an agricultural revolution, but the food and agricultural ministries are on opposite sides of the FSB battle. Clearly, Sonia Gandhi’s political needs are trumping good policies. Bad politics is leading to bad economics.

    The bottomline: the country has enough resources to feed the poor, but not the voracious political ambitions of the First Family.
     
  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The above article in the above post expresses my worries too!

    It is a good idea, but too idealistic and cannot be implemented given the infrastructure to identify the categories and the massive fraud that will be perpetuated by political considerations, fraud and graft.
     
  13. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    How the money will come for such waste, they are planning to put 2 Rs tax on Petrol again as Green tax. Money will start flowing
     
  14. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Why petrol alone?

    Why should those with petrol vehicles have to carry India on its shoulders?
     
  15. SLASH

    SLASH Senior Member Senior Member

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    The lower level bureaucrats need to have will to serve the people. That is where most of the money is looted. The government knows that very well. Removing the lower bureaucracy from the ambit of the Lokpal is cheating by the government.
     
  16. SLASH

    SLASH Senior Member Senior Member

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    Because someone has to. If the government does not increase the petrol prices we would have to cut our budgets in others sectors like defence, infrastructure, education etc.
     
  17. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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  18. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Cabinet to clear Food Security Bill on Monday: K V Thomas

    KOCHI: Central Food Minister K V Thomas has dispelled all uncertainties on the fate of the Food Security Bill and categorically stated that the special session of the Union Cabinet on Monday will clear this flagship project of the UPA II regime.

    "All the doubts and apprehensions raised about the Bill have been cleared. The draft bill will be formally cleared at the Cabinet meeting on Monday, and we will be introducing it in this Parliament session itself," the Minister told TOI here.

    The Bill will then have to be referred to the Standing Committee of the Parliament, he said.

    According to him procurement of food grains would not be major constraint in the implementation of the Food Security Bill. "Our total annual food grain production is 184 million tonnes. We would need to procure only 61 million tonnes of food grain for the implementation of the Food Security Bill in its proposed form. But we have already procured 63 million tonnes of food grains this year,'' Thomas said.

    The minister said the final draft sought to provide food security coverage to give 75 per cent of the rural population with at least 46 per cent belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) categories.The coverage will be for 50 per cent of urban population, with at least 20 per cent from the BPL category.

    Thomas asserted that the selection of the BPL and categories will be done by the Centre as per the Planning Commission norms.

    "The states cannot be given this power (to determine APL and BPL categories). They might do this as per their whims and fancies," he added.

    Thomas said the special cabinet session originally scheduled for Sunday was deferred to Monday as it was felt that many ministers may not be able to reach the capital by then. The Prime Minister was also set to return from Russia early Sunday only.

    The Bill could not be cleared in the cabinet session on last Tuesday because the ministers from some of the UPA allies including the Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had reportedly raised some objections. But food minister and some other Congress leaders held extensive parleys in between to ensure smooth passage of the Bill in Monday's Cabinet session.

    According to reports Pawar's apprehensions were mainly related to huge quantum of procurement of food grains required for the implementation of the Bill.

    Cabinet to clear Food Security Bill on Monday: K V Thomas - The Times of India
     
  19. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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  20. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    Someone please pull the plug from this Govt. enough of these stupid subsidising schemes.
     
  21. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    This government has been hijacked by the NGOs close to the Queen.
     

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