ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Food Security

The commentary on “Right to Food” (EPW, 13 August 2011) expresses the hard realities and the weaknesses of the draft of the National Food Security Bill. Besides diluting the existing entitlements ensured by the Supreme Court, the draft bill is also silent on the nutritional aspects of the food security. It should be amended to retain the successes achieved so far in the existing public distribution system (PDS). There is no gain in abolishing the existing PDS network; instead, it should be strengthened with proper reforms so that foodgrains meant for the PDS are not diverted to the resale market. The government wants to give a food security allowance in cash in lieu of PDS entitlements. But will the real beneficiaries get those cash subsidies? More over, there is a fear that this will affect the food procurement and storage system. The minimum support price (MSP) system helps to provide a sense of relief to farmers. Withdrawal of the MSP may act as a disincentive to farmers who will not have a sufficient incentive to increase food production. We should bring a change not to damage the existing merits of the system; rather we should try to bring changes for betterment and improvement.

Saroj Upadhyay

Kolkata

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