A common man’s view on the Food Bill

It’s in news. It tops the google trend’s most searched keywords list for India. How on Earth can I oppose such bill? It’ll be inhumane to refuse food to the ones who are needy. And believe me, I’ll never ever oppose any scheme that ensures the end of malnutrition in India. But, does the bill cleared by the cabinet ensures that? or is it just another feel good factor (necessarily, tends to be practically ineffective) to gain political advantage?

Well, my poor common sense says that it’s an irresponsible move to gain popularity. I’m saying this because, I do not think that homework has been done to implement this properly. I’ve not come to know about any major move to increase agriculture productivity in last 5 years at least. The first 2.5 years of which, I’ve spent in an industry directly related to agriculture. I really do not remember any special act or bill being passed to enhance agri industry. The only major decision related to agriculture was the loan waiver. That was a popularistic decision which harmed the economy of the nation (as it harmed the banks) and other industries related to agriculture. Imagine the Govt. forcing you to give loan to someone and then again forcing you not to collect it! Aren’t we forgetting the fact that schemes of these type, make beggar out of poor.

Projects like this need financers. And who will finance this whole project? Why will anyone invest when they know that it’s not going to give any return? Taxpayer’s money? I’d rather say, please use my money on research, education or in establishing industry or improving basic infrastructure. This will, help us increase productivity and reduce unemployment and in turn poverty & malnutrition.

And if they are using money from worldbank etc., my question to my Govt. is that who has given them permission to use borrowed money for pseudo charity? Who will be responsible to repay the debt they are inviting. I’m not saying that don’t feed the poor. I’m asking that why are we focussing on feeding the unemployed rather than creating opportunities of employment.

The next important factor is the effectiveness of schemes launched. For eg. ‘Rashtriya Gramin Rojgar Yojana’ was a major effort. But, may I ask, how much effective has it been? How effective will the scheme be? I’m not sure, how many of you closely know the situation of Govt. distribution network in rural India. I can assure you, people from well to do families hold BPL card, use ration card and also claim from from Prime Minister rojgar yojana. This is not unknow. This is not new. Moreover, since the Govt. could not create enough opportunities, they preffered to replace machines by human labour to enhance the figure in the scheme.

Midday meal scheme was started with somewhat similar aim. All of us reading this are very well aware of the meal that is served and how effective and efficient the whole project is. If you say it is running well, then I’d request you to come out of your comfortable air conditioned chamber and peek into rural India for a change. Esp. if you are among the policymakers.

I’m very much sure that most of the money spent on this project will  not go for the actual purpose, but will fill up the pockets of implementors. I sincerely and wholeheartedly, oppose this bill and strongly feel that this is just another political tool to attract voters. And unfortunately, they will be able to do so, as well.

I'm a business analyst. I have a background in Sales, Engineering, MBA and analytics. I enjoy photography.


  1. Samrat
    January 17, 2012

    @Asitav Da…. Beg to Disagree….

    How long can we avoid bills just with the perception that they will not be looked after properly, will be mistreated and land up in the hands of profit makers and corrupt politicians. This is absolutely no reason to implement plans that will weave the future of millions of undernourished children in India.
    U said about the RGRY and Mid Day meal. I dont know a lot about RGRY and its success but mid day meals have been a success, considering the masses that it pulled. Though mismanaged by highly corrupt individuals, states like Himachal, Tripura and Andhra have really benefited by the same. So it leaves us to one paradox, and rightly quoted by you. “Rather invest on Infrastructure, education and research”. Unfortunately the fate of these institutions are really poor in India and rather than concentrating and envisioning Utopian dreams about the same, its better to dedicate the “Taxpayers” money for meeting the basic needs of people of the country.

    1. Asitav Sen
      January 17, 2012

      @ Samrat. I really love it when u reply. I clearly suggests that u go thru the articles. Thanks 🙂
      It a perfect statement that we cannot ignore or neglect a bill just because we have implementation flaws in the system. But, we need to improve on the system then, before we think of investing thousands of crores.
      Rather than midday meal, u can say pulse polio program has been a somewhat successful program. Midday meals did attract children, but, they did not go to school for studies, but for food. Still, if it has positively effected the literacy rate and in turn employment rate, it’s worth it. But, with no polio reported in last 1 year, the pulse polio program seems to be success.
      We cannot refuse to live upto the dreams 🙂
      Taxpayrs money, I strictly believe, is for development; not for charity.

      1. Samrat
        January 17, 2012

        @Asitav Da
        It’s a source of pleasure to read your articles and see ur photography..Will always find time to do so and appreciate this AWESOME blog by you…

        @Ur comment
        I agree partially..”Charity though sounds a awkward word,when u let alone people go committing scams, but can feed someone who and which u can afford, does not deem fit to the fate of the country(Strictly my opinion, u can refute!)”
        Just an excerpt from an article i read sometime back to make ur point more valid:

        “India’s fiscal deficit for the year through March 31 is expected to be 5.5% of gross domestic product, higher than most other Asian countries and above the government’s official target of 4.6%. Economists say that India can’t sustain such a high fiscal deficit for long.

        New spending as proposed by the food security bill “will just make the fiscal side bleed even more,” said Rajeev Malik, senior economist at securities firm CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Singapore. “It just boggles me that a trained economist as a prime minister can allow all this irresponsibility under his watch,” said Mr. Malik, referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

        To meet the requirements of the Food Security Bill, India will annually need 60 million to 61 million tons of grains to feed people who will be eligible for assistance under the program, up from around 55 million tons it needs now for state-run welfare programs.

        This will cause food subsidies to balloon to an estimated 949.73 billion rupees ($18.05 billion) in the first year of implementing the food security program, up from around 673 billion rupees now. The government will also need an investment of 1.1 trillion rupees to boost farm output over next few years.”


        Though according to the post this can surmount India with huge amount of debts, schemes like NREGA which defaults the basic concept of a growing and a competitive economy, “Guarantee of Income ” , Food bill definitely is a much “development-hearted” project. Would welcome if it comes.

        1. Asitav Sen
          January 18, 2012

          @ Samrat
          Thanks a ton 🙂 Believe me, you keep me going!!!

          I really do not understand so much of calculations and economics. But I understand that the target of
          1. Guarantee of Income can be achieved in two ways
          a. By increasing employment scope by boosting industry. (This will certainly increase employment)
          b. By replacing machines with manual labour. (This will also increase employment; but at the cost of loss of productivity)
          2. and target of Food security can be achieved in two ways
          a. By increasing production to a level that ensures availibility at lower cost. (This will ensure food availibility. With proper distribution, this will help in food availibility)
          b. By providing food through subsidy and increase our debt. (This will also ensure food availibility, but at a huge cost and a dark future unless backed up by super heavy industrialization)

          While the correct choices are the first ones, we tend to forget that.

          I do not oppose the “Bill” as such. I oppose the circumstances and the motive. We don’t have the infrastructure, we don’t have the money; then why think of donating? First let us improve infrastructure and ensure proper distribution of enhanced production. I guess, it’ll do lot more than the “Bill” to feed people.

          P.S. Just consider, how much vote bank can this “bill” generate, while misleading the public. People who understand the deficit, the debt; people like you can me are far far less in number than those who do not understad. Those who will use it as another reason to vote for the present Govt. But is it good for the nation?

  2. Deepak
    January 18, 2012

    I am not very familiar to bills and real facts..
    as an ignorant kid i can say “we are not showing enough importance to agriculture”. our agri minister is busy with icc and so officials.
    we need a strong food minister and malnutrition in India, it will be funny for foreigners who believe and who knows that 4 richest people in the world are Indians.
    I am not sure that we collect any agri tax, if not we must tax the rich for welfare of our future generation !
    certainly a national shame !-Deepak


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