New Delhi: The inclusion of the Food Security Bill has become a major challenge for Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, than handling fiscal deficit, in the upcoming budget. The passing of the Food Security Bill under immense political pressure will be a setback for the Union Budget.

Even if the bill gets passed under political pressure, the government will face immense difficulties in implementing the provisions for food security. Moreover, every central ministry has already listed their problems in implementing the bill. Even, the Ministry of Agriculture has emphasized supply side constraints in meeting the provisions of the Food Security Bill.    

The Agriculture ministry is expecting a big help from the budget in increasing and sustaining agricultural production. The ministry has also shown concern over handling natural calamities like flood and draught in every 2-3 years which significantly affects production and has also exphasised the need for large scale investments for irrigation on 65 percent non-irrigated farming land in the country.  

PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan has also highlighted the challenges in the implementation of Food Security Bill in his report. The implementation of the bill is expected to increase a subsidy burden by Rs 1,50,000 crore. 

The lacking infrastructure for grain storage has posed a major problem for the government where the states are ineffective in controlling the leakages of food grains from the public distribution system. Every effort to streamline the PDS in the past has failed thereby raising a serious question on state’s preparedness in implementing the proposed food security.
 
(JPN/Bureau)