No, India cannot afford to have a universal Food Security Bill, because it doesn't have enough intake of taxes at this point in order to provide that level of benefits. India would be better off reaching out to the international community for food. That would bridge the gap until India can provide food benefits for all of its people. But right now it would hurt India to guarantee benefits that it cannot pay for.
The LokSabha has passed the Food Security Bill. Sonia Gandhi claims it will save the needy from hunger and malnutrition. The BJP claims she is merely buying votes in the coming general election. Critics claim the Bill will strain the exchequer unbearably.
Wrong, wrong and wrong again. This farcical exercise will not improve food security; will not ensure electoral victory for the UPA; and will be an affordable folly
NSSO surveys show that the proportion of hungry people fell from 15.3% in 1983 to 2% in 2004. By now, it is probably 1%. So, forget the notion that hungry Indians are crying out for cheap grain. No, per-capita consumption of cereals has fallen steadily in all income groups, including the poorest. They are shifting to superior foods: proteins, milk and tea.
Schemes a Dime a Dozen
Besides, the NDA launched the Antyodaya programme for the very poorest back in 2000, providing wheat at 2 and rice at 3 per kg. The Bill simply repeats the dose - nothing new at all for the poorest.