A token gesture for food security

Activists say the budget lays bare governmentÔÇÖs intentions over food security bill

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has set aside Rs 10,000 crore for the the proposed National Food Security Bill. Terming food security as a basic human right, Chidambram said the amount is “over and above the normal provision for food subsidy,” and for the likely incremental cost under the Act.

Food rights activists, however, question the meagre allocation. Implementation of the bill requires an additional Rs 60,000 crore, says Biraj Patnaik, advisor to the Supreme Court commissioners on Right to Food. “The budget shows they (the government) don’t want food security this financial year,” says Patnaik, who calls the allocation “a mere joke”.

Another food rights activist from Bihar, Ashish Ranjan Jha, also doubts the intention of the government by allocating this token amount for the proposed bill.


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