The way Union Council of Ministers is facing tough time in evolving consensus on the Congress and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s favourite Food Security Bill, makes it amply clear that the present economic environment is not suitable for the bill. It is not a good sign that when the Cabinet is divided over the issue, efforts are on to introduce it in this very session of the Parliament. Is it aimed at taking political mileage in the upcoming assembly polls? Obviously, with the tabling of Food Security Bill in this session the ruling party especially the Congress would get an opportunity to propagate that it is willing to give right to food security to common people, but this promise will only be fulfilled when it takes a shape of law and for implementation of the same an appropriate structure would also be prepared? So far the response to this question is yet to come that how the requisite financial aid would be mobilized for this mammoth project? As per one estimate, the implementation of food security law will extend the food subsidy bill upto Rs 95,000 crore which so far is Rs 63,000 crore. When the economy is passing through a lean phase, it would not be easy to arrange an additional fund of Rs 30-32,000 crore and if the same is accomplished due to political reasons, it would certainly create other problems. It must be understood that when increasing pressure of subsidy has already been causing trouble, the fact cannot be denied in this context that present system of foodgrain distribution is already in the web of corruption. Except a few, in most of the states mediators are reaping profit in the public distribution system.

It is unfortunate that hectic efforts are on to bring the Food Security Bill, but neither the Centre nor the state governments are worried over correcting the PDS. Barring the Supreme Court, nobody is bothered in this context. Without making an effective arrangement for distribution and storage of foodgrain, the exercise in hurry to convert Food Security Bill into a law has no relevance. Like the foodgrain distribution system, the present system of food storage is also being neglected resulting into an annual wastage of thousands of tonnes of foodgrains in the government godowns. The Food Security Bill is no doubt a part of the promise made ahead of 2009 general elections, but it does not mean that plan worth thousands of crores would be brought without any preparation.  In the past two years, no concrete step has been taken either to strengthen the PDS or to make an effective system for food storage. Besides, the assessment of people living below or above the poverty line has also not been done properly. There is no doubt that India is a place of malnourished people where millions are deprived of two square meals. But this is also obvious that law on food security will not solve this problem in lack of an effective system.