It is well nigh impossible to implement Food Security Act.
Satbir Singh Bedi | 09 Oct 2013
Food Security Act has been passed by the Parliament but it is well nigh impossible to implement this Act because it is going to cover two thirds of the Indian population which is a huge task.
At present about 28 crore people are covered by Public Distribution System of food grains but the Act would mean that three times more people would have to be covered.
The other implications of the measure are that a lot of godowns would have to be built by the Food Corporation of India and the Central Warehousing Corporation for storing the food grains. A lot of news posts would have to be created in the Food Corporation of India, Central Warehousing Corporation and the Department of Food. Then a number of railway wagons would have to be provided for the movement of the food grain and Department of Railways' Traffic staff would need to be increased. At the State level, a number of Food Inspectors would have to be recruited. This would mean big increase in the expenditure of the Government and the Government would per force have to curtail its expenditure on other development projects. The minimum support price which is actually the maximum support price would have to be paid to the farmers for more and more procurement. This would mean increasing this price so that farmers are induced to sell their food grains. Smuggling of food from the godowns to Nepal and Bangladesh would require to be stopped which is a very difficult task. Then black marketing of food needs to be checked. All this would mean recruitment of extra staff and increase in Government expenditure.
The upper middle class and the rich class are mostly industrialists and businessmen who will be able to evade taxation which is going to be very high to meet the fiscal deficit to be caused by this huge subsidy. This would also induce corruption to a great extent and Inspector, Permit, Quota, license Raj of Indira Gandhi era would come back. The fair price shop dealers are going to black market the food grains and Food Inspectors would be making a lot of money. Bogus card holders cannot be ruled out. The class which would suffer most is the salaried class and pensioners who cannot hide their income and would have to pay the taxes. This is mostly the middle class people who are about 30 crores in number or perhaps more and they are going to tighten their belt which means there is going to be less expenditure on Air conditioners, refrigerators, coolers, and other such things. This would mean that the production of such electronic goods etc. would fall down making the market go down and the big malls would also not find it profitable to run their business. It is a very bad idea of the Government to win over votes. India can progress only by increasing its production including agricultural production and controlling its population by enforcing the compulsory one child norm as in the case of China otherwise this huge subsidy is going to doom us.