The acknowledgement made by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee over the growing burden of subsidies on the state exchequer is a matter of serious concern.  But if that is the case, the Finance Minister is himself to be blamed for introducing the Food Security Bill in the Parliament. More so as the Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has clarified that the target set for the Food Security Bill cannot be accomplished through the present PDS system. Food Minister KV Thomas too corroborates the views of Sharad Pawar. According to an estimate, to implement the Food Security Bill the government along with spending a huge amount will have to make an extra arrangement for ten lakh tonnes of food grains. The Food Security Bill aims at providing cheap food grains to 63.5 percent of the population. What is a matter of concern is that the subsidies provided by the government have already crossed its prescribed limit. Another problem is that the government has not taken any concrete step to bolster food production. It is a fact that agriculture is the most neglected sector in the country. Neither the Centre nor the state governments have taken concrete steps to boost agricultural growth in spite of political parties projecting themselves as the savior of the farmers.

It is not surprising, in a conference of Agriculture Ministers of the state and Union territories the Finance Minister, Agriculture Minister and the Food Minister stressed the need for a change in the Public Distribution System. But the nub of the matter is when will the government take concrete steps in this regard? It is only the Supreme Court that looks concerned over malfunctioning of the Public Distribution System. Recently the Court had appointed an officer of the PDS department to look into the distribution of food grains in the states and Union territories.  The Court was forced to take this step as there wasn’t any proper system in place to curb corruption in the PDS. The Apex Court also noticed that the works of issuing digital ration cards have not picked up pace and fake ration cards are still being made. It is clear that the work that is the responsibility of the states and the Centre is being handled by the Judiciary. The Central government on one hand speaks of providing sufficient food grains for the people and on the other it is doing nothing to increase food productivity. If the government is serious in becoming a welfare state, it has to strengthen the Public Distribution System before bringing the Food Security Bill into effect.